Today’s organizations are moving toward truly digital workplaces. As companies deploy digital transformation (DX) strategies, cognitive technologies continue to change the skills their workforce needs.
New solutions will augment or supplant existing technologies, and as the business becomes more efficient, innovation inevitably will impact employees. Companies deploying a DX strategy need their employees to bring different strengths to their jobs.
As businesses undergo DX, it’s important to look at how technology will change what they need from employees. Looking to the future begs the question: What skills will employers look for in their future workforce?
Soft skills matter
“As routine work continues to be automated, employers will place more value on skills like judgement, empathy, communications, and leadership. At the same time, experience with and literacy in digital tools and techniques will be crucial,” said Tom Catalini (@tomcatalini), CIO, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “A diverse set of skills will be highly valued in many cases.”
Systems engineer and internet policy analyst Martha Cisneros (@marthacisneros) agreed, citing critical thinking as one – if not the most important – skill employers will seek from their workforce.
“Even when AI is getting into the workforce, the human brain is still the most powerful intelligence that considers multiple aspects of a certain situation to make a decision. Creativity to resolve complex problems will be a skill employers seek as well,” Cisneros added.
Organizations will define a strong candidate as one able to understand human behavior. John Moore, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Bigtincan, said employers will need a workforce with technical skills – but collaboration, communication, and curiosity skills will be more important.
Moore added, “Great employees hunger for knowledge; they need to be successful as individuals and as teams; and they need to be great communicators virtually and in person. People who bring these soft skills to bear will be the most in-demand.”
Adaptability is key
Ben Rothke (@benrothke), Senior Information Security Specialist at Tapad, said, “Complete mastery of cloud computing will be key. This includes understanding how the various cloud platforms and services work and interact. Also, having a DevOps mindset and the ability to deal with constant change is an incredibly important skill to have.”
Paul Chapman (@PaulChapmanBox), CIO of Box, said, “The most important skill is adaptability. Change is the enemy of the competent, but the workforce of tomorrow must embrace change to stay relevant.”
Chapman added that he looks for “technology professionals willing to give up skills that made them successful in the past, who are willing to reinvent themselves. The future workforce will need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The slowest rate of change we will ever experience is the one we are experiencing now; it is not going to slow down anytime soon.”
A special blend of technical and soft skills
Employers will look for candidates who are creative and emotionally intelligent, but who also have the ability to understand the context of applying technology to business problems, said technical writer and content strategist Will Kelly (@willkelly).
However, Kelly goes on to say, technical skills will remain critical. “Cloud and enterprise mobility skills will equip them to use tomorrow’s cloud services and SaaS applications. They also need to find workers with life experience, who’ve been on teams that have broken new ground in technology and business and can adapt their lessons learned to help their current organization achieve their digital transformation.”
Adam Stein (@apstein2), Principal at APS Marketing, agreed. “I see three top skills employers will require. First: complete digital literacy on any device, B2B application, and understanding of customer content consumption channels,” he said.
“Second: staff collaboration and learning requirements, including a strong sense of emotional intelligence (EQ), balanced with relevant intellectual intelligence (IQ). Last: relevant domain experience in customer industries to both understand the user’s business problem and deliver the right digital solution.”
There is no ‘I’ in team
Those willing to collaborate and work as a team will set themselves apart in the jobs of the future, according to Brian Thomas (@DivergentCIO), deputy CIO at Johnson County, KS, government.
“Employers will need to be flexible and allow more autonomy with their employees, yet employees will need to bring their talents in both education and experience with the skills of the future,” Thomas said.
Soft skills will be highly valued, but candidates will need fluency in technology. “While the job position may not be directly related to an IT or technology job, employees will need to be able to navigate technology. They will also need to be forward-thinking, as more jobs are assumed by machines,” he added.
Employers will be looking for team players, according to Chris Petersen (@CPetersen_CS), consultant at Crystallized Software, who spoke of the “T-shaped skills set.”
Referencing the “T-shaped” skills set, Petersen said, “The top of the ‘T’ will be a balanced set of both hard and soft skills required to enable cross-functional teams, and the bottom of the ‘T’ will be a few skills acquired and maintained at a deep level. The highest-performing teams will be made up of those team players.”
Technical skills always are needed
The workforce of tomorrow still will be technically savvy, well-versed in machine learning and data science. Advanced machine learning skills will be important, but Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), Director of Security and Information Technology at Pensar Development, recommended that those looking for future employment also consider learning a programming language.
“The intent here is not to master it,” McGladrey explained, “but rather to gain an understanding and appreciation of how things work from the inside out. Employers are also looking for career stability so that they can invest in their people, so don’t hop from company to company on an annual basis.”
As technology continues to evolve and drive digital transformation, the workforce will inevitably adapt, requiring employees to hone new skills that apply to both technology and the business.
To learn more about the ways intuitive and cognitive technologies such as BMC Helix can help today’s workforce, visit BMC.