The skills that will shape the future are personal, not technical

Following the publication by IBM of a report on the real skills that business leaders will need in the coming years, human resources and talent management analyst and researcher Josh Bersin has made an interesting reflection on the results of the study on his website.

IBM’s research, which includes the results of surveys conducted in 50 countries with nearly six thousand executives, concludes that around 120 million professionals will need to be retrained in the next three years in order to tackle the new corporate environment. However, this major gap does not so much affect technical skills (mainly digital) or “hard skills”, but those related to personal behavior or “soft skills”.

Adapting to a new environment

Most companies are already addressing their employees’ digital skills gaps. This training demand is constantly changing and being updated; it is to be expected that sooner or later they will be outdated since they involve tasks that will increasingly be taken on by computers or robots.

What won’t be replaced are purely human skills, which have to do with interpersonal relationships and self-control.

Training in those skills, the irreplaceable ones, is more expensive, considering that they are more and more in demand and add value. As Bersin rightly points out, even the work of data analysts is becoming hybrid, as they are expected not only to interpret data, but also to negotiate with internal clients and communicate their ideas in an effective way for the business.

Transversal training: soft and hard skills

One of the responses to the current business and technological situation is, as Bersin suggests, the creation of “corporate academies” with a transversal approach, capable of responding to the complex range of skills required by new employees. The figures are quite unsettling, and it doesn’t seem that we can leave the bulk of training to academic institutions. In fact, studies indicate that 65% of children who started primary education in 2017 will work in jobs that do not even exist today. Some of these surprising figures are reviewed in this interview with IBM’s Head of Human Resources on CNN.

The trend in the cost of corporate training

Among the chilling data uncovered by the IBM report, we can also find a comparison of the time it takes to retrain an employee. While in 2014 it was at three days, it is now calculated at about 36 days. The ability to develop skills that allow workers to perform satisfactorily in a changing and agile environment will determine how well future leaders can adapt, regardless of their role.

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