65% of children starting elementary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist . That’s a mind-blowing statistic.
We are today, according to the World Economic Forum, on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics, and biotechnology are transforming the way we live and work. Some jobs will vanish, others will grow, and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace.
Yet our education system has its roots in the industrial revolution and prepares young people for a world that no longer exists.
The skills challenge
To thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at soft skills such as collaboration, communication and problem solving – developed through social and emotional learning – coupled with more traditional cognitive skills.
In 2020, the top three job skills are projected to be complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, but schools today are still focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic.
Furthermore, with the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, people are going to have to become more creative in order to adapt. But according to Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert on education, our schools are educating children out of creativity.
The short term skills solution
In the short-term, it is near impossible to assess whether candidates in a job interview hold the right soft skills. They may say they are good communicators or natural problem solvers but that doesn’t mean that they are.
Some HR teams are finding new and creative ways in order to assess these skills. For example:
Its also important to understand recruits’ motivations; companies can gauge a lot from understanding not just what potential employees think, but what they feel. Ultimately, if recruits share similar values with your company, then they’re more likely to also have the soft skills you prioritize and are looking for also.
Long term skills solutions
In the long-term, HR teams can equip candidates with the right skills in a range of ways.
A lot of this comes back to great workplace experiences: establishing a single source of truth, and using analytics to identify trends and gaps in skills; understanding employee motivations, and looking at how development and upskilling can drive engagement; and creating experiences that focus on the ways in which an employee interacts with your company over the duration of their relationship. Being one step ahead of their development – for example, offering training to upskill them in certain areas before they ask – can make all the difference.
In 2017 it is essential that we are arming tomorrow’s employees with the right skill set to work in an automated, fast moving, information age. Despite the widening skills gap, there is positive action that HR teams can take to educate and train their employees of the future. And to grow their business and attract the best talent, hey need to do this now – before its too late.
Find out more about staying ahead of the skills shortage, and the key to solving engagement. Read our whitepaper on workforce experience management.