Triumphing with the 4th industrial revolution: The desired professional skillset
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Triumphing with the 4th industrial revolution: The desired professional skillset

The 4th industrial revolution is changing our working environments rapidly, creating more new job types. Having the right skillset for fulfilling the innovative demands secures professional success.

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our working environments: we are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution. New technological influences, from digitalization and artificial intelligence for example, have begun injecting a fast and unpredictable pace in our jobs and changing the global workplace forever. Their impacts are not limited to location, cultures, generations, genders, or even wealth levels. It is just a matter of when and how each of us will increasingly experience them in our daily professional activities. Anxiety about job security has thus been a consequence of these progressing and rapid advancements.

Enriching advancements after every technological leap

Ironically, the strong and divided opinions on how positive or negative such ongoing technological developments are likely to transform the world's workforce are not new. They mirror the voices and concerns of employees who experienced a previous industrial revolution: the first revolutionized production and transportation using water and steam, the second invented mass-production and gave us light by using electricity, the third digitalized technology by using computers and the internet.

Today we cannot imagine the workplace without the developments brought by each of the three industrial revolutions. Nonetheless, the fear of mass unemployment was as strong during each of them as it is now.

The past indicates a positive future

Overall, evidence strongly suggests that technology can help us continue driving progress. Instead of being afraid of it, being ready and open to the changes it offers has proven to be a key factor of success in the past. Historians and economists agree that:

  • "Over time, every technological advance has led to greater prosperity and higher rates of employment." 1) Productivity increases, earnings consequently grow, these are re-invested, income increases which then leads to more demand, and a growing cycle is created.
  • Instead of replacing workers, technological change has created job types previously inexistent to every industrial revolution. Artificial intelligence and data protection are only a couple of areas offering new professions for those ready to take the challenge in the current technological leap. These new job profiles are now seen in many sectors, from healthcare to construction and commerce.
  • Equal employment has increased because digitalization has improved inclusivity for the previously disadvantaged. Race, gender, or handicaps are increasingly overlooked thanks to the available flexibilities for employees. Working from home or remote locations is no longer an exception. 2)

Flexibility and creativeness. Winning attributes.

An appropriate attitude and skillset to use these technological changes beneficially for our professional futures is a successful foundation.

  • Young adults currently average about fifteen different jobs in their lifetime. Staying curious and creative is key in approaching this professional development.
  • Well-trained workforces willing to keep learning prevail in the job market. As concrete knowledge is quickly outdated, education focusing on how to learn – instead of what to learn – is essential. Top universities already offer curriculums based on this progressive method.
  • School systems are yet to follow in leaving the traditional educational approach. Timing is crucial: evolving alongside change creates inclusive growth.

Facing increasing change in the way we work and the skills employees need to bring to the table might seem unsettling – even frightening – for some. Fortunately, history proves that we can be justifiably confident about the future; there is only one job profile in the US which has fully disappeared in the past decades: the elevator operator.

How technology will affect the jobs of the future | WEF

Lara Warner, Chief Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Officer from Credit Suisse Group, points out the importance of being aware of the exponential changes occurring due to the 4th industrial revolution in order to thrive with it.

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1) Tobias Straumann, Credit Suisse Bulletin 02/2018
2) Steffann Heuer, A Renaissance of the Liberal Arts, Credit Suisse Bulletin 02/2018