Reagen Kok, Hoorah Digital CEO: Forget coding – the future calls for soft skills

Reagen Kok, Hoorah Digital CEO: Forget coding – the future calls for soft skills

Written by Staff Writer

27/10/2021

By Reagen Kok, CEO at Hoorah Digital

 

Today, around the world, there are thousands of people who do jobs that didn’t exist 20 years ago. From social media managers to AI experts, app developers, 3D printing technicians and influencers, these are all roles that our grandparents (or our childhood selves) could not even have imagined.  It is estimated that people spend as many as 40 to 50 years of their life working, which means that countless workers are likely to find their current roles obsolete or dramatically transformed within the span of their careers. 

Work today is fluid and ever-evolving. The days of a linear career path are long gone, and that may be for the best. But it does mean our career futures are more uncertain than ever, which calls for a more dynamic approach to skills acquisition and development. 

Rather than train for a particular job and hone the skills specific to that role, future-proofing our careers calls for a more open-ended approach to working, learning and developing. 

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by as early as 2025 in line with the growing adoption of various technologies. 

Interestingly, the skills experts believe will safeguard individual job security don’t directly relate to the use or application of new technologies. Rather, it’s the mastery of “soft” skills that are anticipated to stand us in good stead in the workplace of 2025 and beyond.

The WEF report goes on to pinpoint four key skill types that the future-focussed employee wants to prioritise developing:

 

Problem-solving 

The value of problem solving lies in how it enables us to exert control over our environment, according to a Kepner-Tregoe article. Problem solving has been a key feature of our evolutionary trajectory and is set to be even more essential in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world of today and tomorrow. 

Effective problem solvers typically have a high emotional intelligence, logical thinking skills and a fair dose of creativity as skills that are central to solving problems. 

Problem solvers also tend to be good at critical thinking and analysis, reasoning, ideation and taking initiative. 

 

Self-management

People who are able to manage themselves tend to value continuous, self-guided learning and make an active effort to upskill and re-skill themselves. Together with their sense of resilience and flexibility, self managers make for valuable employees who adapt easily to new situations and environments.

 

Working with people 

Working well with others is a basic tenet of leadership skills, something that close to 70% of employers look for in graduates. 

It is increasingly said that not even an MBA can teach the leadership skills needed to excel in the workplace. A recent Fast Company article explains it as follows: “Having the discipline to do the things that enable you to become more comfortable with conflict, the temperament to remain calm in pressure situations, the confidence to take decisive action in a highly ambiguous context, and the commitment to excellence that it takes to set uncompromising standards of behavior and performance—these come through self-mastery and repeated fail-and-fix cycles.”

 

Technology use and management

Technology isn’t going anywhere. The use thereof is only going to become even more ubiquitous. Those who are comfortable using and managing it, already have a leg up in the workplace of tomorrow. Accept that it is here to stay and will keep disrupting, even industries that have been somewhat immune to date. There was a time when the thought of online banking was unthinkable. Stay safe and assume nothing will be as it is for very long. 

While these skills can certainly be taught, competency in these skill sets is typically the result of consistent application. An online short course, however insightful, doesn’t simply make somebody a better problem solver. And that’s where the real challenge of reskilling lies. Teaching somebody to operate a machine, or program a device, or build a model in a certain way is far easier than imparting a skill that, effectively, relies on the individual’s self awareness, emotional intelligence and empathy. 

Complex as it may be, the challenge is not insurmountable. It simply starts with re-evaluating what we value as skills and competencies in the workplace.

 

 

*Check out the latest edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication here.

For enquiries, regarding being profiled or showcased in the next edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication, please contact National Project Manager, Emlyn Dunn: 

Telephone: 086 000 9590 |  Mobile: 072 126 3962 |  e-Mail: [email protected]

 

 

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