The pace of change in today’s workforce is accelerating rapidly, according to the World Economic Forum but there are ways to protect our careers from this rapid evolution, to make sure we remain relevant in tomorrow’s workforce.
In their Future of Jobs Report 2018, the WEF says “the Fourth Industrial Revolution is interacting with other socio-economic and demographic factors to create a perfect storm of business model change in all industries, resulting in major disruptions to labour markets.”
Leadership skills are key to managing this change and will be highly sought after by employers according to Fadi Abdul Khalek, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Efficacy, Pearson Education.
“Decision making in the next 10 years will be crucial to be able to survive, lead and create the future. Some of these critical leadership skills revolve around clarity, dilemma flipping, constructive depolarisation and conflict management, rapid prototyping and immersive learning and adapting capabilities,” says Khalek.
Leadership skills are key to managing this change and will be highly sought after by employers.
In general terms he says the top skills needed for these roles include complex problem solving, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and people management.
Today’s students have a solid handle on these requirements. In a 2018 study on the Most Attractive Employers, Universum Global found that young people in the UAE prioritise the ability to exercise entrepreneurial and creative skills among their top three, alongside more traditional values of work/life balance and job security.
Of 2,447 UAE business students surveyed, they ranked Emirates Airline number one on their most preferred employer list, followed by Google and Apple.
According to the WEF report on the Future of Work, the job role that is in most demand in the MENA region is that of the software engineer.
Free play of the imagination is something we attribute to children, that is creativity without limits or constraints, but I think creativity is inherent in all of us.
Graduate software engineers, such as those from Emirates Aviation University design and develop software that is involved in almost every facet of today's modern society, including computer gaming, business applications, military applications, telecommunication systems, operating systems, and network control systems.
EAU says its “computer software engineers apply the principles of computer science and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computer work.”
Jobs requiring creative, analytical and people skills are also in increasing demand, as these aspects of work can’t be automated, at least not yet.
Creativity is a uniquely human trait, according to Alison Grace-Gahan, the senior tutor at the National Design Academy’s Dubai campus. As such she says there will always be a need for designers.
“Free play of the imagination is something we attribute to children, that is creativity without limits or constraints, but I think creativity is inherent in all of us,” says Grace-Gahan.
She teaches her students that most of us can benefit from thinking more creatively, and that confidence is the key to unleashing it.
“It is how we use it and practice it that demonstrates how much we are willing to offer,” says Grace-Gahan.
The WEF report shows jobs that perform number-crunching or basic administration tasks are most likely to disappear, as the most susceptible to replacement by machine automation.
Across the board, Khalek says World Bank figures show 50 per cent of today's jobs will be eliminated by 2030 and replaced by new jobs.
In this rapid turnover the only way to stay ahead of the curve and stay relevant is by updating our skills to match the changing needs of employers.
“Digitalisation and automation are fundamentally transforming the way we work. As a result of this transformation, skills acquired earlier in life become obsolete as technological breakthroughs speed up,” says Khalek.