How to stay employable in a world accelerating towards Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Frey and Osborne (2013) estimate that 47 percent of total U.S. employment is at high risk of automation over the next one to two decades, suggesting that even highly skilled workers may eventually lose the race against machines. US data of job growth since 2009 proves this point.

“Since the end of great recession in June 2009, the US measures of business health rebounded pretty quickly but there was no corresponding increase in hiring. Economic history teaches that when companies grow, earn profits, and buy equipment, they also typically hire workers.This time companies brought new machines in, but not new people”*

This is what is referred to as a “Jobless Growth”. All this is because technology is rapidly encroaching into areas that previously used to be ‘people’ only. As per the Moore’s law this is going to expand further.We are surely in the early throes of a digital revolution.

How should one stay relevant in this dynamic world where everything is going towards automation?

“The key is not to compete against machines but to compete with machines”*

Yes, the key is to collaborate with them; to gain skills which computers do not have and will not have. In short, build on your soft skills which we call as ‘Employability skills’. “While computers win at routine processing, repetitive arithmetic, and error-free consistency and are quickly getting better at complex communication and pattern matching, they lack intuition and creativity and are lost when asked to work even a little outside a predefined domain. Fortunately, humans are strongest exactly where computers are weak, creating a potentially beautiful partnership”*

“In particular, softer skills like leadership, team building, and creativity will be increasingly important.They are the areas least likely to be automated and most in demand in a dynamic, entrepreneurial economy”*

In line with this, soft skills are going to gain more and more importance. Even the data gathered and analysis made indicates that this is the case. “US Labor market has increasingly rewarded social skills since 1980.Jobs with high social skill requirements have experienced greater relative growth. Jobs that require high levels of analytical and mathematical reasoning but low levels of social interaction have fared especially poorly”

** In the new automated world, these ‘social skills’ will become even more valuable.

“85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead.Shockingly only 15% is due to technical knowledge”^

This 100 year old study still hold true in today’s world.

Take a look at what employers look for in an employee :

Core work skills or what we will refer as ‘employability skills’ build upon the basic foundation skills,technical skills(e.g.accounting, using technology or driving a forklift) and professional/personal attributes such as honesty, reliability, punctuality, attendance and loyalty. The upper half of the pyramid is thus dependent on Emotional Quotient(EQ) whereas the lower half on Intelligence Quotient(IQ).Employability skills enable individuals to constantly acquire and apply new knowledge and skills.They are extremely critical for lifelong learning.^^

In brief, Employability skills are skills necessary for getting, keeping and being successful in a job.

The technical skills associated with different roles may be less important than the EQ dependent ‘soft skills’ that can be transferred between different jobs and different employment sectors. For employers, getting the right people means identifying people with the right skills and qualities to fulfil the role and contribute to the organisation’s success. Candidates may have the basic and technical skills needed to be able to manage the job role but without a well-honed set of ‘Employability skills’, employers are less inclined to hire.

Employability skills have always been a game changer but they will be more so considering the onslaught of automation.

We hope you found this information useful.

If you’re short on time and just scrolled to the end of this post, don’t forget to bookmark this page for future reference.

Have a great day and let us know your views on this topic through your comments below!


*Source : “Race Against the Machine” (Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2012)

**Source :  The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market.David J. Deming Harvard University and NBER.August 2015

^These statistics were extrapolated from A Study of Engineering Education, authored by Charles Riborg Mann and published in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation. The cited figures come from the data on pages 106-107. The report is out of print, but can be located through a public library or a university library. Source :

^^Source : Enhancing youth employability:What? Why? and How? Guide to core work skills.Laura Brewer,Skills and Employability Department,International Labour Organization (2013).Some of the points are edited here for better clarity.

Share this

Contact us for further details and free consulting on how you can scale up your business with Content Funnels :
Corporate Form

Related Articles

5 1 vote
Rate this content
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x