Job security may be a thing of the past as more and more traditional jobs are being automated and replaced by technology. Of course, as software, robots, and chatbots cause some occupations to become extinct, new opportunities are being created to fit the shifts in market trends and demands.
The key to career longevity in this transitioning job market will be to hone and demonstrate those skills that are uniquely human and cannot be replaced by machines. You’re better than the bots. You know you are; so, prove it on the job market.
Here’s a look at five essential soft skills that the most successful candidates for the jobs of the future must possess – and that technology never will. These are what the robots can’t do, but you can.
1. Ability to work in a team. How often have you wanted to punch a computer for spitting out the same response again and again as you try to solve an issue? Genuine teamwork includes being able to connect with others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and create valuable interactions. In a more interconnected and multicultural world, it also involves the ability to interact with people in different cultural settings. Technology is bad at this.
2. The ability to make decisions and solve problems. Employers will value candidates who are skilled at understanding a situation and coming up with solutions and responses above and beyond those that are rote or rule-based. A chatbot can only answer questions that have been foreseen and pre-programmed. Humans are unpredictable.
3. Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work. If every minute of your workday has to be micromanaged by someone telling you what to do, step-by-step, there is a good chance that whatever you are doing can be replaced by technology. Automation is very good at rote tasks. Employees of the future will be responsible for handling input from multiple sources, making decisions and delivering results in ever-changing situations.
4. The ability to obtain, process, and transmit information. Computers can crunch numbers and spit out reports. They are less good at processing data and translating it into easily-understood, actionable insights. In-demand employees will be able to determine and report on the deeper meaning and significance of what the data reveals. This takes a creative, analytical mind combined with solid communications skills.
5. The ability to make connections and display empathy. As much as many transactions and interactions with the public can be automated by websites, software, and chatbots, genuine customer service skills will become more valuable in the future. This is because in a world with fewer interpersonal interactions, our expectations of those interactions increase. People who can empathize with client needs, resolve issues, and provide a positive customer experience will be increasingly valued.
Put it this way: no one wants to navigate a lengthy automated system to finally get to speak to a person – only to have that person be no warmer or more helpful than the recordings that preceded them. (We’ve all spoken with that guy. That guy can be automated, nobody’s gonna miss him.)
Critical thinking, empathy and communications, prioritizing and problem-solving, these are the human traits that can’t be automated. Technology can perform tasks and transmit information in predictable, ordinary circumstances. Your future career success depends on being more extraordinary than that.