For example, current technological trends are bringing about an unprecedented rate of change in the core curriculum content of many academic fields, with nearly 50% of subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree outdated by the time students graduate, according to one popular estimate.
A focus on the state of the talent pipeline for traditional formal qualifications and ‘hard skills therefore risks dramatically understating the scale of impending skill set disruption if a large part of the existing subject knowledge of the current workforce will be outdated in just a few years.
If skills demand is evolving rapidly at an aggregate industry level, the degree of changing skills requirements within individual job families and occupations is even more pronounced (Figure 10).
For example, the increasing ubiquity of mobile internet combined with the coming-of-age of the Internet of Things promises to transform the daily routine of many frontline roles in the Sales and Related, Installation and Maintenance, and Manufacturing and Production job families across all industries, requiring a much higher level of technology literacy than in the past.
As an ancillary characteristic to increased automation in these fields, employees are expected to have more responsibilities related to equipment control and maintenance and problem-solving skills, as well as a broader general understanding of the work processes of their company or organization.
Many formerly purely technical occupations are expected to show a new demand for creative and interpersonal skills.For example, technological disruptions such as robotics and machine learning—rather than completely replacing existing occupations and job categories—are likely to substitute specific tasks previously carried out as part of these jobs, freeing workers up to focus on new tasks and leading to rapidly changing core skill sets in these occupations.Even those jobs that are less directly affected by technological change and have a largely stable employment outlook—say, marketing or supply chain professionals targeting a new demographic in an emerging market—may require very different skill sets just a few years from now as the ecosystems within which they operate change.Overall, our respondents anticipate that a wide range of occupations will require a higher degree of cognitive abilities—such as creativity, logical reasoning and problem sensitivity—as part of their core skill set.More than half (52%, the bright blue part of the bar in Figure 10) of all jobs expected to require these cognitive abilities as part of their core skill set in 2020 do not yet do so today, or only to a much smaller extent.Beyond hard skills and formal qualifications, employers are often equally concerned about the work-related practical skills or competences that current employees (or prospective new hires) are able to use in order to perform various job tasks successfully.Focusing on a core set of 35 work-relevant skills and abilities that are widely used across all industry sectors and job families (see Figure 9)—derived from the same classification as our occupation-level data—the Report finds that these practical skills, too, will be subject to accelerating change and significant disruption in the immediate future.through visualization) and the amount of potentially useful digital information generated and stored keeps increasing exponentially.In the Consumer sector, for example, vast amounts of data will allow for increased sophistication in inventory management, customer segmentation and product personalization, involving some use and familiarity with technology by jobs at all levels, from retail assistant through to more senior positions.Future Problem Solving is a nonprofit educational corporation administering creative problem solving activities in Ohio and all over the world. The accelerating pace of technological, demographic and socio-economic disruption is transforming industries and business models, changing the skills that employers need and shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skill sets in the process.