Workplace skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution


The smarter the machines become, the more important human strengths become, says expert.

Insaaf Daniels, human capital general manager at redPanda Software, says the business sector must embrace Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence or they will be left behind, become less competitive and ultimately lose out to their competitors. “It’s a matter of survival. At the same time, they are well aware that technology is already displacing some jobs and the pace this happens at is likely to increase.”

According to Insaaf, skills that will be most invaluable in new digitised workplaces can be broadly defined in two categories. The first are those that require IT-related skills or a heightened digital understanding to directly manage and run technology. “These include jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago, such as social media management, digital performance marketing, data analysis, robotics, user experience, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and much more. Each one of these fields has an array of jobs and applications,” she says.

She says the second batch of skills that will become increasingly important are human skills, or skills that may well have been considered soft skills a few years ago that are already becoming crucial and will continue to be vital for future employees. “These include critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity, active learning and evolving, emotional intelligence, and judgement and decision-making.

“Perhaps the biggest shift in how businesses deal with the 4IR skills conundrum will lie in pushing staff to adapt and adjust to work alongside technology, and prioritising upskilling over new hires where possible. Beyond this, as machines become more technically proficient, it’s not hard to imagine human skills becoming increasingly more valued in the workplace,” says Insaaf.

She says for a company to build the skills it needs to fully realise the potential of 4IR, and to develop an understanding of where its sector is going, how business is evolving, and which skills will best serve this changing landscape.

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