The “Future of Jobs Report,” which was created in 2015 in collaboration with the Global Agenda Council, states that, “Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years.” And while many of us didn’t need a fancy report to uncover this nugget, it is simultaneously comforting and discomforting to know that empirical evidence backs up the hypothesis that new types of jobs and corresponding skills will be needed over the next five years.
The drivers of change are many, and somewhat obvious. Few would dispute the facts that technological change, socio-economic variables and geopolitical events will continue to have a significant impact on our world. However, the immediacy of these changes is what seems to fall on deaf ears.
The effect of all these changes is shortening the “shelf-life of employees’ skill sets.” The functions in virtually all industries have yet to be defined, so the skills needed for future employment and overall organizational success have yet to be cultivated. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the leaders within the business community to retrain and hire a workforce with skills that may be appropriate in five years. This demands a remarkably progressive mindset, but one that will sustain the business for years to come.
As you can imagine, there are countless categories of job functions that will see massive decline. But there are a few that are identified as critically important across several industries. In particular, the idea around specialized sales representatives highlights that all of our businesses must become even more skilled in “commercializing and explaining their offerings to business or government clients or consumers, either due to the innovative technical nature of the products themselves or due to new client targets with which the company is not yet familiar, or both.”
One of the key takeaways from this important study is that marketing will never go out of style. The demand for people to persuade, build followings and communicate remains high. The way we do these things may change, but the concept that marketing is the cornerstone to good business will remain.
Consider the excerpt from the report that states, “Overall, social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others – will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation, and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.”
Challenges persist in the coming years. The future work environment may seem daunting, so it is critical that business leaders become aware of the pending changes, act decisively and equip people with the necessary skills to serve.
Change is in the air, and we need to be ready.