Saturday, August 06, 2011

Workforce Skills Required For 2020

According to a study commissioned by the University of Phoenix, these are the key changes happening in the world and the skills required in workers. Some of these may be skewed towards the market University of Phoenix serves. I read the analysis done by read-write-web added some of my notes in blue.

Six drivers of change:

  1. Extreme longevity - People are living longer. Increasing global lifespans change the nature of careers and learning.
  2. Rise of smart machines and systems - Workplace automation nudges human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks. If what you are doing is not exceptional, sooner or later a machine or a low cost worker will replace you.
  3. Computational world - Massive increases in sensors and processing power make the world a connected programmable system.
  4. New media ecology - New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text. People need to learn to express themselves using videos.
  5. Superstructured organizations - Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation. This did not make any sense to me. I wonder what a super structured organization is.
  6. Globally connected world - Increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the center of organizational operations. 
I am wondering why the exploding number of mobile devices and how they are changing the world economy was not covered.
The key skills written in the report.
If you look at all the skills you will see a pattern. There is little need to know things anymore. There is however a huge need to work well with people, understand what they are saying, process information from many places, think different, focus and identify the tasks that matter.
  • Sense-making - The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.
  • Social intelligence - Ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired intentions
  • Novel and adaptive thinking - Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
  • Cross-cultural competency - Ability to operate in different cultural settings.
  • Computational thinking - Ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning.
  • New-media literacy - Ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communications.
  • Transdisciplinarity - Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines.
  • Design mindset - Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.
  • Cognitive load management - Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques. 
  • Tools: We need to stop complaining about having to use too many tools. Instead we need to think about using the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. We can learn from the automotive or construction industry. Workers in those industries do not complain about having too many tools. They know that there are specialized tools for every job and pick the appropriate one.
  • Virtual collaboration - Ability to work productively, drive engagement and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team. I would say demonstrate contribution, not just presence.

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