A common narrative around automation is that machines will replace the human workforce in the near future, but this is an inaccurate—or, at the very least, incomplete—picture of the human job outlook. While automation reduces the need for professionals to perform some manual tasks, technological advances will also create new opportunities for people to work alongside machines.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, machines will perform 42 percent of total tasks hours by the year 2022, a 13-percent increase from 2018. This is a noticeable uptick, but these findings correspond to shifting skills demand across multiple industries. For example, skills like critical thinking and analysis, complex problem solving, and emotional intelligence will continue to grow in prominence by 2022, while competencies like manual dexterity and technology installation and maintenance will continue to decline in importance.
Some professionals don’t even have to wait that long to see this shift. A 2018 report from the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that “employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success.” In other words, executives and hiring managers look for candidates who are proficient in skills like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Reports like these indicate that to survive and thrive in an increasingly automated world, workers need to rely on what makes them uniquely human—soft skills. When you consider that nearly half of all knowledge gained in the first year of a four-year technical degree is outdated by the time students graduate, it’s not hard to see why.
Prior to becoming the CEO at Bongo, Josh Kamrath was an investor and account manager at several other leading software companies. As a thought leader in the edtech space for the past six years, Josh speaks at major education, assessment, and talent development conferences every year.