The AI-Fueled Future Of Work Still Needs Humans

By Larissa C February 13, 2024

AI, much like the transformative impact of the internet in the 1990s, is poised to reshape the very essence of work. Amidst the apprehension surrounding change, the past three years have illustrated that it is also an opportunity for a fundamental reinvention of our approaches. I advocate embracing a skills-first mindset as the most effective strategy to navigate the forthcoming transformations for employees and employers.

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For employees, this entails viewing their roles as a compilation of tasks rather than a static job title, acknowledging that these tasks will undergo frequent alterations as AI advances. By deconstructing their job responsibilities into tasks suitable for full AI automation, tasks where AI can enhance efficiency, and tasks requiring unique human skills, individuals can pinpoint the skills essential to remain competitive in their roles.

Because the skills demanded by many occupations have witnessed a staggering 25 percent shift since 2015, a number expected to surge to at least 65 percent by 2030 due to rapid technological advancements like AI, adapting becomes imperative. This extends beyond technical AI literacy; interpersonal skills are gaining prominence. Data indicates that problem-solving, strategic thinking, and time management are perceived as the top skills to gain significance as AI tools become more ubiquitous in the workplace.

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For employers, the ascent of AI amplifies the significance of an approach grounded in skills for hiring and nurturing talent. The proliferation of AI skills is evident, with the number of individuals possessing AI skills being nine times greater than in 2016. Notably, job postings on LinkedIn mentioning AI or generative AI have witnessed 17 percent higher application growth in the past two years than those without AI mentions. Leaders prioritizing skills over traditional markers like degrees or job histories will tap into more significant potential and agility as the work landscape undergoes continual transformation.

This skills-oriented approach extends to talent development, where employers will increasingly assume the role of educators. A “training to hire” paradigm will emerge, with onboarding, apprenticeships, and academies evolving to accommodate the ever-changing job landscape. Moreover, a “training to promote” model will appear, fostering upskilling and rotational roles to usher employees into new functions or even entirely different career paths. This is not limited to hard skills related to AI but includes people skills; an overwhelming 92 percent of US executives believe people skills are more vital than ever. – Yuri A/Shutterstock

As we enter 2024, a new era of work beckons, where people skills such as problem-solving, empathy, and active listening take center stage in career success. Collaboration among individuals will become pivotal for company success. The key is to view AI as a tool in the professional toolbox, augmenting human capabilities rather than replacing them. Leaders and employees should leverage AI to enhance job effectiveness, allowing time for more valuable and inherently human aspects of their roles.

In this evolving landscape, leaders will adeptly incorporate technology while empowering employees, and individuals will align skill development with AI and essential interpersonal skills. The outcome will be a new world of work that is more human-centric and fulfilling than ever.