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What comes to your mind when you think of the industrial revolution? You likely imagine factories, smokestacks, and laborers circa 1800s New York. But did you know right now we’re right in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? This industrial revolution has striking differences to the three before it. While the other revolutions optimized processes with the use of water power, electricity, and eventually computerization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and relate to one another with one driving force at the center: automation.

According to a recent study by research powerhouse McKinsey most occupations will be affected by automation in one way or another, but only 5% of these occupations are at risk of being fully automated by currently existing technologies. As more and more tasks become automated, the fear of robots taking jobs from humans is finally fading – replaced with the realization that humans must get used to working in harmony with these innovations and build their skillsets where employers need it most.

Skills Employers Are Looking for During the Automation Revolution

To set yourself up for success during the automation revolution, you must embrace working alongside technologies while growing your skillets in a few key areas. Take a look:

1) Applied Technology Skills

While research shows that the need for advanced IT and programming skills could grow by as much as 90% through 2030, you don’t have to be an IT professional to be successful during the automation revolution. In fact, the demand for applied technology skills, or basic digital skills, has been on the rise for years and will increase 69% by 2030.

As organizations deploy cutting-edge technologies across their organization, they need tech-savvy employees to put them to good use. In other words, a company can invest heavily in automated programs but the results will fall flat unless their employees have the expertise to use them to their full potential. According to a report from the Career Advisory Board, the most relevant applied technology skills today are the ability to use data to draw logical conclusions, leverage data-analytics programs to improve organizational processes, and efficiently utilize IT resources in an organization. If you sense your basic understanding of today’s technologies could use some freshening up, there are plenty of free online courses to help get you up-to-speed.

2) Creative Problem Solving

With automation simplifying processes across industries, organizations are able to invest in employees that will bring game-changing ideas to their organization. In fact, the demand for creativity, critical thinking, and high-level decision-making skills is slated to grow 19% by 2030. Complex problem solving even came out on top on The World Economic Fund’s list of top core work-related skills for 2020.

In some organizations, automated technologies are thought of as “assistants”, enabling employees to spend less time on menial tasks and more time making critical business decisions. For example, with cutting-edge business intelligence programs at their disposal, employees no longer need to spend days parsing through thousands of data points. Instead, the automated program gives them a detailed report in seconds and they can spend their time making critical decisions with the data. Likewise, production line employees can spend their workday programming and manning the machines that now take care of the repetitive (and strenuous) activities on the line.

3) Emotional Intelligence

While problem solving may have topped the list mentioned above, emotional intelligence and similar skills weren’t far behind, and the demand for these skills is set to grow 26% across all industries by 2030.

So, what exactly is emotional intelligence? Essentially emotional intelligence guides your ability to effectively create and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. In the workplace, this skill is nothing short of critical. Your emotional intelligence kicks into high-gear during issue resolution, empathetic decision making, and in fostering cohesive teams. In many professions, emotional intelligence is key to guaranteeing positive customer interactions and can make or break morale and productivity in the workplace.

An Upper Hand During the Automation Revolution

While working to refine your expertise in the skillsets listed above can help you maintain a competitive edge during the automation revolution, there’s still one secret ingredient for success – a job search partner. When you partner with a recruiter, like our experts here at Ethan Allen, we’ll support you every step of the way in your job search – from resume help, interview prep, and eventually, connecting you with leading Hudson Valley businesses who are vying for your skills.

Looking for a rewarding opportunity you can feel good about? Search our open positions or apply today to be connected with our job search experts!


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