In 2018, LinkedIn surveyed approximately 4,000 professionals globally, including company executives, human resources professionals, and learning and development specialists. LinkedIn goals included providing a holistic view of modern workplace. The report -- 2018 Workplace Learning Report – concluded that “…short shelf life of skills and a tightening labor market are giving rise to a multitude of skill gaps.”
Tomorrow’s labor market will include a balance of competing demands from executives, managers, and employees, according to LinkedIn researchers. They must play a critical role in shaping future workforce strategy, while delivering relevant content. LinkedIn researchers identified a number of important technical skills needed for the workplace of tomorrow, including:
-Cloud and Distributed Computing Related Jobs: Platform Engineer, Cloud Architect
-Statistical Analysis and Data Mining Related Jobs: Business Analyst, Data Analyst, Statistician
-Middleware and Integration Software Related Jobs: IT Manager, Systems Integration Engineer
-Web Architecture and Development Framework Related Jobs: Web Developer, Full Stack Web Developer
-User Interface Design Related Jobs: UX Designer, Web Developer, UI Designer
But remarkably, LinkedIn’s research also identified “…training for soft skills” as the number one priority for talent development. “In the age of automation, maintaining technical fluency across roles will be critical, but the pace of change is fueling demand for adaptable, critical thinkers, communicators, and leaders. As technology accelerates, soft skills are in high demand to fuel people and business growth.”
Being adaptable is critical in the new work environment emerging during the new decade. “While maintaining technical fluency will be important, demand for soft skills will continue to accelerate. Industry experts and organizational partners agree that this should be the top focus for talent development,” according to the LinkedIn report.
Soft skills are going to be needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate, and organize. These and other soft skills are becoming more important for employment success as the workplace evolves socially as well as technologically. Natural selection in the work environment may favor a combination of soft skills and technical competence.
“Workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people, applying expertise, and communicating with others. The skills and capabilities required will also shift, requiring more social and emotional skills and more advanced cognitive capabilities, such as logical reasoning and creativity,” according to the 2018 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn.
People surveyed by LinkedIn identified ‘getting employees to make time for learning’ as one of the biggest challenges facing talent developers. However, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if their employers invested in their career development. “The modern organization needs to meet learners where they already are—aligning development opportunities with employee aspirations and engaging them through the platforms where they are already spending their time,” according to the LinkedIn report.
If employees are not taking the time to learn, then learning and development programs cannot be successful. Yet, the number one reason employees say that they feel held back from learning is because they do not have time to learn the skills they need. The 2018 Workplace Learning Report indicates, “Millennials fundamentally think about jobs as opportunities to learn and grow. Their strong desire for development is, perhaps, the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations in the workplace.”
According to a Gallup poll, business executives identified soft skills training as the most essential skillset to cultivate through talent development programs. According to this poll, 92% of executives said that soft skills are “equally important” or “more important” than technical skills. And 89% of executives said that it is difficult to find people with soft skills.
In the age of technology, empathy, creativity, reasoning, problem solving, communication, and other human skills are not just relevant, they are still highly necessary and becoming more important as time goes on. Technology may provide the tools we need to build the future, but it is people who must pick up the tools and use them to evolve and bring about the new work environment.