The Future of Work – The Top Skills Required for 2022 Onwards – Being Creative

The World Economic Forum’s most recent report The Future of Jobs Report 2020 states: “We estimate that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.”

So, What Does This All Mean?

Prior to COVID-19, the change in the proportion of labour and machines was well underway, with new technology based industries being created. The OECD, PWC, McKinsey & Company, Deloittes, KPMG, the University of Melbourne have all shared a common view regarding this point.

However, the advent of COVID has seen this change accelerated. The following graphics give some appreciation of the change that is happening and where job growth is occurring. For each graphic from the report, I have made a comment in bold text. An explanation against each comment is provided from the report itself:

The move to remote work will continue (44%). Eighty-four percent of employers are set to rapidly digitalize working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work—with the potential to move 44% of their workforce to operate remotely. To address concerns about productivity and well-being, about one-third of all employers expect to also take steps to create a sense of community, connection and belonging among employees through digital tools, and to tackle the well-being challenges posed by the shift to remote work.

Despite automation and AI increasing dramatically, there are new opportunities. The adoption of cloud computing, big data and e-commerce remain high priorities for business leaders, following a trend established in previous years. However, there has also been a significant rise in interest for encryption, non-humanoid robots and artificial intelligence.

Forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.

It’s clear that businesses are prepared to invest in reskilling of their employees going forward. The top skills and skill groups which employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include groups such as critical thinking and analysis as well as problem-solving, and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. On average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.

Governance is key going forward. Companies need to invest in better metrics of human and social capital through adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and matched with renewed measures of human capital accounting. A significant number of business leaders understand that reskilling employees, particularly in industry coalitions and in public-private collaborations, is both cost-effective and has significant mid- to long-term dividends—not only for their enterprise but also for the benefit of society more broadly. Companies hope to internally redeploy nearly 50% of workers displaced by technological automation and augmentation, as opposes to making wider use of layoffs and automation-based labour savings as a core workforce strategy.

Inequality remains as an issue. In the absence of proactive efforts, inequality is likely to be exacerbated by the dual impact of technology and the pandemic recession. Jobs held by lower wage workers, women and younger workers were more deeply impacted in the first phase of the economic contraction. Comparing the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 on individuals with lower education levels to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the impact today is far more significant and more likely to deepen existing inequalities.

Understanding the time required to upskill workers in the emerging job markets is critical. The window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market. This applies to workers who are likely to stay in their roles as well as those who risk losing their roles due to rising recession-related unemployment and can no longer expect to retrain at work. For those workers set to remain in their roles, the share of core skills that will change in the next five years is 40%, and 50% of all employees will need reskilling.

The Bottomline Is This: Despite the Changes, Human Capital Is Required i.e. You Matter (Yes, that’s you!)

The reaction to this video, in the main has been quite negative. It’s short, it packs a punch. I found the message very positive ie you matter. It’s clear that the majority of employers (73%) now recognise that human capital is their most important asset!

It Would Appear Creativity Is King and Queen Regarding The Future of Work 👑 👸

So although there is a strong focus on machines and AI, the human element to create, lead, influence, problem solve and use critical thinking underpinned by the former is the future.

In short, this is about being creative. Creativity doesn’t mean you have to be good at art and the like. Being creative is your ability to sit down (or stand up) and come up with something useful.

When I boil it all down, despite the qualifications I hold, the roles I have performed and the changes I have made, it has all come down to my ability to be creative. I have always classified myself as a “jack of all trades and master of none.” In otherwords, throw a difficult problem or issue at me and I will find some way to resolve it.

When it comes to creativity, the world is your oyster: Are you an influencer? Can you lead? Do you write good content? Can you design? What are your marketing skills like? How are your programming and software skills? Are you good at computer games? Do you know your industry? Are you good under pressure? How resilient are you? Can you plan? Can you analyse a situation? Are you objective? …

So, three questions: how creative are you? What role do you see for yourself going forward? What are you doing to help create a better future?

9 thoughts on “The Future of Work – The Top Skills Required for 2022 Onwards – Being Creative

  1. G’day Sean & the gang at Strategic!

    I have actually experienced the “re-skilling” aspect in my work role over past 10 years. So, a move away from prescriptive rule-sets where “compliance is king” to performance-based risk management in the resources & manufacturing sectors has meant that my regulating techniques have evolved.

    What this has meant for me is a far more interesting engagement with industry & individual operators. My focus has been upon developing my auditing skills and applying them holistically to businesses that are now integrating systems for processing/ packaging/ distribution of goods.

    I have also changed my role within the organisation as a result of upskilling in what is broadly termed functional safety, previously the domain of design engineers.

    Another facet of the modern paradigm of the workplace is engaging with multi-disciplinary teams. What was once considered anathema to a particular profession is now the norm – don’t be intimidated by the expertise you’re interacting with, rather thrive on the synergies!

    Interestingly, I recall reading an article in the 1984 RACI Chemists monthly magazine about the whys & wherefores of an analytical chemist leading an environmental study. Whilst on the face of it, two traditionally diverse disciplines were interacting, the author explained that fundamental analytical skills were being exercised in a domain larger than your typical laboratory!

    Bit like a mandolin or banjo player venturing outside of Bluegrass, really, Seano…

    Take care of yourselves folks,
    Laney of the Undercroft

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think what you have undertaken in terms of development is awesome in itself, Stevo. The level of understanding and application you have shared shows the huge benefits of an open mind. Thank goodness we are all moving away from that silo mentality. You are quite right in terms of thriving on the synergies – it’s not only interesting and diverse, but enjoyable and it even becomes fun (imagine that!).

      So, because you have mentioned the mandolin and the banjo and Bluegrass, I thought I would see if I could remember how “Laney of the Undercroft” went, when we wrote it all those years ago. I can remember some of the words for the verse. Of course the chorus is easy. Anyway, with the chorus it’s a repeated progression of Am and D. The only thing is, I then found myself speeding it up and it turned into the Moody Blues “The Story in Your Eyes 🤣”


    1. My pleasure re the post! The report in itself is very interesting and reminiscent of a key report undertaken in Australia over 25 years ago (I took onboard the report and it put me in good stead re myself and subsequent organisations that I had responsibility for).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For as long as I can recall, the rise in automation has been portrayed negatively in film, drama and literature. One of the exceptions is Asimov’s “Foundation” and “I Robot” series where the use of AI starts negative but evolves and concludes in the most wonderful of ways – humanity for all. When I started office work for the first time, I hadn’t been exposed to a computer before despite being a long time sci-fi fan watching them operate in movies and tv series. Suddenly, I found myself having to use a mainframe terminal and no one really bothering to show me how it all worked. Then, it all evolved amazingly quickly from there. Mainframes (in the main) are long gone and of course we all use desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones etc etc etc 😊 I am a great believer that as technology evolves, the jobs will continue to transition and there will still be plenty of work for all. Interestingly enough, our youngest has just started a two year traineeship in what is steel fabrication and he is getting to use all the most amazing latest equipment and technology. So, he gets to be creative and learn the use of automated and other programmable equipment. That being said, what he really wants to do is make historical and ancient weapons – and there is quite a market out there for this type of stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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