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Many workplace experts think that soft skills will help workers differentiate themselves from their peers. But automation will require workers of the future to be prepared to perform jobs with a strong technological component.
In the future, change is the only certainty.
Workers, employers, and education providers need to be agile, flexible and prepared to adapt as technology continues to interrupt industries and change the jobs available.
Until two decades ago, the general goal of colleges was for academic pursuits and teaching individuals to become more well-rounded. The general thought was that colleges were not vocational institutions.
Now, and possibly in the future, colleges will have to focus more on training and change their curriculum to meet the demands of employers.
One of the main ways technology has changed the job landscape is the gig economy and contract work.
What will further change is the extent to which specialists will be valued over generalists. In the future, a small business owner will have access to legal talent and services beyond their geography. It will include narrowed down services on an ad-hoc basis.
As technology continues to change various industries, employers will require up-skilling from their employees.
In the worst-case scenario, people will need to be re-skilled into new industries as AI, drones, and automation will reshape jobs. Mini-degrees or certifications that are more specialized will be offered by training institutions that focus on a particular industry.
It's not enough to be smart. In the future, good workers also need to be curious to stay ahead of the game. Those who choose continued education in their careers will be the ones to thrive.
As for employers, companies that promote a culture of learning and facilitate training will reap the benefits.
A four-year college education remains the best choice for those who can get admitted to a selective university. But for everyone else, an alternative path might be the best way to go.
In the future, one training path will be company-sponsored apprenticeship programs to cover the skills missing between the secondary system and what employers are looking for.
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