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The fourth industrial revolution prompts significant upskilling

​First came the steam engine, transforming manufacturing and creating “industry” as we know it today, an era that became known at the Industrial Revolution. Next came electricity, which took production and expansion to the next level. Then came the computer, launching us into a digital age, and now here comes 4IR (the Fourth Industrial Revolution), rapidly changing the face of industry and society with its use of advanced technology that is merging the digital and physical world.

4IR is bringing a multitude of emerging technologies, from robotics and AI to nanotech and the Internet of Things, that will change the face of commerce forever and that have already made their mark in the workplace and on our careers. Digital transformation and automation have been buzzwords for some time too, with their proven impact on employee productivity and streamlining of resources, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is the go-to method of bringing it all together. With its adoption rate already creating a new war for talent, our ERP clients are now demanding an even greater mix of skills, not all of them the technical expertise you might expect.

Our own observations and findings are supported by LinkedIn’s recent research that lists the most in-demand skills as:

  • Cloud computing, with engineers in increasing demand as more services and data migrate to the cloud. 

  • Artificial intelligence, taking best of breed ERP solutions to the next level.

  • Analytical reasoning, with companies needing to make business critical decisions based on the myriad of data now available to them.

  • People management, a possibly unexpected non-technical trait making the top five.

  • User experience design, the process of making these new technologies accessible and easy to interact with.

While there are skills gaps in these areas, with tech outpacing training, there is still no underestimating the importance of soft skills such as oral communication, leadership and time management. LinkedIn’s research showed that active learning, creativity and social influence are moving up the list of soft skills faster than any others, but the most in demand are:

  • Creativity

  • Persuasion

  • Collaboration

  • Adaptability

  • Time management  

While these non-technical skills have been a mainstay on employer wish lists for years, technological advances are changing the nature of so many jobs that different competencies are now required in nearly all sectors, which is resulting in widescale reskilling in order to adapt. According to the latest Future of Jobs Survey, new technology adaptation is key in more than half of businesses. It also estimates that more than half of all contractors will require significant upskilling in the coming years.

Posted over 4 years ago

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