Employability and Future of Work – Our unique vision and solutions for policy makers and leaders
There was a time when completing a degree or certificate (also known as a “Hard Skill”), like speaking a foreign language, typing 80 words / minute, operating a machine or programming computers, was sufficient to find good employment and earn a decent living.
In today’s world, the workplace not only demands that we master a Hard Skill, it also expects us to have impeccable social skills (known as “Soft Skills”). In fact, most jobs attribute at least as much importance to communication, flexibility, motivation, persuasion, problem solving abilities, teamwork, time management and work ethic as it does to hard skills. Given the hyper connected / competitive world we live in, this makes sense. Innovation, speed to market, trustworthiness, customer centricity are no longer a nice to have, they are now a MUST for any organization to survive. Without highly evolved soft skills our ability to collaborate on projects, earn the trust of stakeholders and listen deeply to the needs of the marketplace will be limited. So EMPLOYABILITY in today’s world is very much a function of how well we master both hard AND soft skills.
This much is clear and most organizations, as well as some of the more progressive educational institutions, recognize it and have invested significantly in building the soft skill competencies of their employees. With the advent of AI (artificial intelligence), advanced robotics and other exponential technologies, the big question on people’s mind now is what will the FUTURE OF WORK look like in this new environment. What new competencies will be needed, in addition to hard and soft skills?
Clearly competing with the productivity benefits of advanced technology is not a viable employability strategy going forward. We believe the future of work will require human beings to express more of their innate creativity in order to imagine new solutions for the grand challenges we face as a society (climate change, population growth, income inequality…). At least in the short and medium term, this is not something that technology will be able to do for us.
A recent McKinsey study supports this vision. It concludes that Creativity and Entrepreneurship will see the biggest % increase in hours worked between now and 2030 (40% and 33% respectively).
Other experts, like NYU Professor Richard Sennett, advocate that the future of work is about how well a person hones in on their own craft and becomes better at it than 99% of the population. Craftsmanship, he says, is an “enduring basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake.” Whether you’re a coder, customer sales rep, surgeon, or lawyer, your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.
Therefore, creativity, entrepreneurship, craftsmanship and meaning, will be the buzzwords of the future. This is not only what will be expected from employees going forward, it’s also what the younger generation of more conscious leaders will demand! EMPLOYABILITY in the future will require us to go beyond hard and soft skills. Ultimately, it will be all about expressing and unleashing HUMAN POTENTIAL. In other words, we will need to look deep inside ourselves and connect with the creativity and passion that fuels our unique craft and inspires greatness. Only this will unleash the next wave of value creation for organizations while at the same time providing a deep sense of meaning for the individual.
The following diagram illustrates how the Future of Work will require a “whole-person” approach to Employability. By integrating our hard and soft skills with the innate sense of purpose that lies inside each one of us, it will be possible to unlock vast amounts of underutilized Human Potential, access creative breakthroughs and turn a simple job into a meaningful craft.
Our unique Future of Work and Employability assessment for policy makers and organizational leaders is a holistic tool to measure all the key levers that will enable success of the future workforce. The output of this 83 question survey includes:
1. Employability Index: a robust assessment of how well a person will perform in today’s environment. This index takes into account:
2. Future of Work Index: a robust assessment of how well a person will perform in the future environment. This index takes into account:
3. Personal Performance Metrics: a robust assessment of how the combination of a person’s hard skills, soft skills and Being Attitudes will determine their ability to impact the five Professional Performance Measures (ie: the five key priorities for employers (PPMs): Trustworthiness, Getting Things Done, Inventiveness, Personal Engagement and Stakeholder Orientation) as illustrated in the “Future of Work” wheel below. The 8 Being Attitudes are at the core of the wheel, the 10 soft skills or behaviour skills in the middle and the Personal Performance Metrics on the outer circle.
Our Future of Work Employability skills framework is fully compatible with the NZ Employability skills framework developed by the Pathways Advisory Group in NZ. In fact, it advance and elevate the NZ skills framework significantly, to help youths to Sense, Measure, Discover, Realise and Harness their full Human Potential to meet the challenges to the changing landscape heralded by the Future of Work. (See Figure belos) today.
From 7 employability to 23 Future of Work employability behavioral skillset (see Figure below).