A Big Shift from Jobs to Skills

A Big Shift from Jobs to Skills

The latest World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report forecasts that 44% of core skills will be disrupted by 2027 and 60% of all professionals will need to be retrained

 

As the headlines scream of massive job losses, sharply reduced hiring numbers, and an unprecedented churn of human resources, it reveals a tectonic skill shift underway at an unprecedented haste. Corporate executives estimate that nearly half (49%) of the skills that exist in their workforce today won’t be relevant in 2025. The same number, 47%, believe their workforces are unprepared for the future workplace.

Unknown Roles Will Be Created

Old roles will disappear, and currently ‘unknown’ new roles will be created. The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report for 2023 forecasts 23% job churn by 2027. Half of these jobs will be lost due to replacement by new and frontier technology. The other half will be new jobs created due to the impact of technology on businesses, need for technology domain specialists, and the rise of tech-induced service layer. The report highlights that 44% of core skills will be disrupted and 60% of all professionals will need to be retrained.

Jobs Redefined by LLMs

Organisations around the world are in the midst of a major skill-shift as job roles get redefined. While accelerated automation and digitalisation were driving the change since the pandemic, the launch of hugely popular Large-Language-Model driven chatbots, churning out human-like text and having an answer to almost everything under the sun, have created a fresh challenge for companies. While skills related to routine tasks may see a decline, the overall demand for skilled workers is expected to remain strong, with a shift towards higher-level cognitive and creative abilities. Companies are embracing this technology to alleviate administrative burdens, freeing up valuable time for employees to engage in more innovative and fulfilling tasks.

Half of Current Skills Will be Redundant

C-Suite executives surveyed, by EdX, an online education platform, estimate that nearly half (49%) of the skills that exist in their workforce today won’t be relevant in 2025, and they feel 47% of their workforce is unprepared for the future of work. Not surprisingly, most executives report that they’re struggling to find talent with AI skills. One skillset that’s quickly becoming essential is the ability to use Artificial Intelligence, or AI. In the workplace, AI skills can include technical skills (e.g., skills required to program/engineer AI products) as well as non-technical skills (e.g., skills required to use generative AI tools). By one estimate, the number of job postings related to generative AI alone has increased more than 450% from a year ago.

Per a survey by TestGorilla, a global startup that helps companies hire the best talent by using skills-based assessments, 70% of respondents agreed that all forms of skills-based hiring are more effective than resumes. For candidates, the transformational potential of skills-basedhiring is even more evident. 86% said that the opportunity to showcase their role-relevant skills would increase their likelihood of securing a dream job.

Skill Shifts Are Constant

Skill shifts have been constant throughout the industrial revolutions from the first to the fourth.  Each industrial revolution brought about technological innovations that redefined the landscape of work, rendering some skills redundant while necessitating the development of new ones. If computer literacy was essential during the third revolution, today advanced digital literacy, including proficiency in AI, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cybersecurity, is essential. Soft skills such as creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams are also increasingly important. Understanding and leveraging big data analytics, cloud computing, and augmented reality are among the specialised skills valued in this era.

The Pace of Technological Change

Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other emerging technologies are disrupting nearly every industry. A recent McKinsey study predicts that by 2030, up to 800 million jobs could be lost to automation (Wilson et al., 2020). Further analysis by the World Economic Forum suggests that as many as 97 million new roles may emerge, driven primarily by significant growth in green economy jobs and care economy jobs requiring human skills (WEF, 2022). The pace of this change is unprecedented, requiring a shift in how employers source, manage, and develop talent.

  • Shifting Skill Focus: As LLMs handle routine tasks, the demand for skills related to these areas may decline. However, this creates opportunities for upskilling and reskilling in areas like:
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation: LLMs can generate large amounts of data, but human expertise is needed to interpret and draw meaningful insights from it.
  • Machine Learning and AI Expertise: Organisations need people who can understand, manage, and integrate LLMs into their workflows effectively.
  • Human-Machine Collaboration: The future workforce will require effective collaboration between humans and LLMs, necessitating skills like communication, problem-solving, and adaptability.
  • Ethical Considerations and Bias Detection: As LLMs become more ingrained in decision-making processes, skills in identifying and mitigating potential biases and ethical concerns are crucial.
  • Content Creation and Communication: LLMs can assist with content generation, translation, and copywriting. However, human expertise remains essential for tasks like:
  • Creativity and Originality: While LLMs can mimic existing styles, crafting truly original and engaging content still requires human creativity.
  • Emotional Intelligence and Nuance: LLMs may struggle with understanding and conveying emotions effectively, making human communication skills valuable.
  • Critical Thinking and Editing: LLMs can generate text, but human judgment is essential for ensuring accuracy, clarity, and adherence to brand voice and messaging.

LLMs are Changing the Nature of Jobs

LLMs are not replacing jobs, but rather changing the nature of work. They are automating routine tasks, demanding new skills in areas like data analysis, AI expertise, and human-machine collaboration. While skills related to routine tasks may see a decline, the overall demand for skilled workers is expected to remain strong, with a shift towards higher-level cognitive and creative abilities.

Benefits of a Skills-Based Approach 

In recognition of rapidly evolving skill demands, leading companies are taking a skills-based approach centred on individual capabilities rather than traditional job roles. Accenture research indicates that 83% of executives agree that adopting skills-based practices leads to better business performance through improved talent mobility, agility, and innovation. Additional benefits include:

  • Enabling internal mobility through better visibility into transferable skills across the enterprise
  • Providing learning pathways for reskilling and upskilling
  • Increasing diversity by removing bias inherent in historical role requirements.
  • Optimising recruiting by matching candidates to granular skill needs.

The acceleration of technology and automation necessitates new frameworks for managing talent. A skills-based model offers greater visibility into the capabilities of an organisation’s workforce and allows for targeted development. As technology rapidly changes the nature of work, there is an urgent need for organisations to transition from traditional job-based approaches to skills-based talent management strategies.

 

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