There is a furious race to match human skills with rapidly evolving technologies, and its results define the future.
During this race, certain professions we know today will disappear, while others we don’t know will emerge.
Due to the rapid adoption of technologies in everyday life, some people are afraid of losing their jobs to robots and other intelligence and automation systems.
This is not the first time such a fear has been born; there are several historical moments when people feared for their jobs due to scientific and technical developments.
For example, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Europe witnessed the first arrival of electricity in factories, which fundamentally changed the means of production.
Several industries were shocked by this change, especially the textile industry, where workers perceived electricity as a threat to their livelihood and an impulse to unemployment.
Many employees were so scared that they broke all electric machinery and protested on the streets. But it wasn’t long before these workers realised that protesting against the developments didn’t solve the problem, and that the solution was to deal with the developments intelligently.
Adaptability and agility
Dealing intelligently here means adaptability and agility. These two skills have always been factors of success. They are currently at the top of a long list of “soft” skills necessary to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterised by its rapid changes, and the adoption of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, the Internet of Things, Big Data and others.
Soft skills have always been important, but they have become even more so in recent years, with skills such as social communication, problem solving, innovation, critical thinking, relationship management, coordination with others, emotional intelligence, and negotiation being most crucial for future employees.
It is worth mentioning that most of these skills arise and develop initially within the family, and at an early stage of childhood, i.e. before school.
Despite the prominence of technological tools and digital games in children’s lives, intelligent family intervention and attentive parental supervision provide children a sense of community, teach them rapid thinking and teamwork to solve complicated problems, and more. All these fundamentals of a successful person in this era.
What is left to be taught at school?
This is a critical question, and it is undoubtedly the subject of research and discussion among education experts and officials, who are more aware than others that illiteracy no longer refers to the inability to read and write, but rather refers to digital and technical illiteracy.
Education experts face fundamental questions about how to create a generation that is good at dealing with the modern tools and technologies, understands the essence of data analysis, is aware of how artificial intelligence works, has high awareness of cybersecurity, knows how to protect themselves on the Internet, and has the ability to increase knowledge through available digital channels.
As for higher (college) education, the conversation diverges. No one disputes the value of a college degree, but today an employer expects more from the applicant in terms of the actual value that they will provide to an organisation.
Therefore, a university graduate seeking employment must be fluent in new concepts and capable of competing in a completely new job environment; an environment that requires a high level of creative thinking, innovation and the application of advanced technologies to transform ideas into tangible projects on the ground.
Reskilling a billion people
These requirements are non-negotiable in today’s world, where humanity is racing to take control of the future. For this, the world is witnessing the so-called Skills Revolution. The World Economic Forum has launched an international campaign to “Reskilling” one billion people by 2030.
This number represents one-third of the global workforce. It is the minimum needed to close the skills gap.
Otherwise, the world’s economies will lose a lot, according to a study by the Accenture Foundation, which indicates that the G20 countries alone are at risk of losing more than $11.5 trillion in GDP over the next ten years unless they quickly close the skills gap.
The Skills Revolution is underway alongside radical changes in all aspects of our lives. What is needed is to put it in a strategic and holistic context that starts from the family, passes through school to university and then to the workplace itself.
In this way, we ensure the transition from success to greater success.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori is the Director General of the Dubai Digital Authority