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Skills Shift in the Digital Economy

This is an excerpt from a report by Mckinsey Global Institute (MGI)2 illustrating how workforce skills will shift with the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence in the digital economy.

It indicated that all technological skills, both advanced and basic, will see substantial growth in demand given the expected growth in occupations requiring these skills including data scientists, software developers, and systems engineers. The research suggests that the time spent on these skills will grow rapidly as companies deploy automation, robotics, AI, data analytics, and other new technologies.  It is expected that the need for advanced IT and programming skills will be the fastest-growing by as much as 90%.

Accompanying the adoption of advanced technologies into the workplace will be an increase in the need for workers with finely tuned social and emotional skills – skills that machines are a long way from mastering. These skills include advanced communication, interpersonal skills, empathy, initiative-taking, entrepreneurship, and collaboration skills.

Future Ready Digital Talents

Future talents must now have multi-disciplinary skills and be thinkers and makers who can create value rather than just add value. Technology skills are fast becoming core skills essential to perform future jobs.

Only 49 percent of business leaders said they already have a strategy for the management and development of skills and talent in a digital world. While the skills and capabilities required in a digital age will vary based on industry and role, there are digital skills required to develop future-ready digital talents.

Tech Ready – Future ready talent will be expected to be comfortably working with technologies, such as mobile apps, collaboration tools, and data analytics technology.

Innovative and Agile – Future-ready talents must possess 21st-century soft skills including social and emotional skills to become thinker and maker, rather than just doer.

Multi-Disciplinary – Future-ready talents must have deep skills in various vertical domains but also broad competencies for working across these disciplines.

Life-Long Learner – Future-ready talents must be lifelong learner with passion to continuously evolve their skills for staying relevant in the VOCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

Future Ready Digital Skills

Future-ready talents would need to acquire this core set of future-ready skills for staying relevant in the digital economy.

Agile Innovations

Future-ready talents need to have 21st-century soft skills including agile mentality, innovation mindset, and has social & emotional skills – skills that machines are a long way from mastering.

They must have an innovative and agile mindset able to work in an ambiguous environment where one “Fail- Fast, Fail-Safe” for responsiveness rather than perfection.

They must possess collaboration skills to create value rather than add value. These skills include advanced communication, interpersonal skills, empathy, initiative-taking and entrepreneurship skills.

Data Analytics

Data is the “new oil” for the digital economy as future-ready enterprises would need to be smarter with all processes and decisions driven by data insights.

Knowing how to use spreadsheets was essential for an accountant in the past, today, data analytic skill has become core skills required for an accounting job role in the new digital economy.

Future-ready talents would need to possess data modelling skills and have the ability to leverage data analytics technology for timely and intelligent decision making.

Digital Engagement

In the digital economy, businesses need to deliver a seamless customer journey and experience with an outside-in, “Digital First” approach rather than the traditional inside-out approach. Businesses are leveraging digital technology to design, market, sell, distribute, and service their customers through digital channels.

To become part of the digital community, professionals would need to acquire digital engagement skills to communicate with their customers and stakeholders.

Digital Technology

The scale and rapid pace of technology advancement in recent times have been unprecedented.

Professionals would need to acquire skills to augment these emerging technologies as enterprises embed them into their businesses and workplace. These emerging technologies include the cloud, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, mobile/mobility, robotic process automation, internet technology, the internet of things, 5G, Blockchain, IPV6, containerization, etc.