What will be the key skills in the future labour market?

Before 2020, 5 million jobs may disappear due to the development of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology or robotics according to the Future of Jobs report edited by the World Economic Forum. However, there is a positive side to this technological development: more than 2 million jobs will be created, most of which will require great specialisation in areas like computing, mathematics, architecture or engineering.

But this good news comes at a cost – governments and businesses must plan how employees can recycle their knowledge to avoid a crisis. In the words of Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, “without urgent and targeted action today to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with futureproof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base”.

If you’re wondering what skills employees must acquire to handle the challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, you might be surprised to learn that the abilities that you developed at preschool will be highly valued.

The professor of Education and Economics at Harvard University, David Deming, considers that social skills such as negotiating or sharing will be vital. For Heming, the workplace, where workers carry out different tasks and cooperate on different projects, is similar to the preschool classroom. Deming has identified the key skills that will be necessary for employees if they want to do well in the future jobs market, where mathematics will play a key role.

As Deming has shown, in recent years many jobs require maths skills, such as bank cashiers or statisticians. In addition, there are different jobs where social skills are important; workers who  look after children, for example, who tend to be badly paid at the same time as there are a lot of jobs on offer.

The study therefore shows that those employees who combine both maths and social skills will find work more easily.