We have entered a new age of artificial intelligence (AI). Customer service roles, accounting and analytics functions typically staffed by humans are being replaced by algorithms at an alarming pace. Even creative works like illustration, music and blog posts like this one are being created by AI with a couple of prompts and a few clicks of a button. And this trend will only continue.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution: Preparing 1 billion people for tomorrow’s economy, the rising reliance on automation and machine-based technologies will radically transform 1.1 billion jobs worldwide in the next decade.
For new graduates entering the job market and established professionals preparing for the future of work, it may seem like a no-brainer that a highly technical skill set in emerging technological fields will be essential in the coming years. And while technical skills are important, the most essential skill set today and in the coming years is not your technical competencies — it’s your human skills that will set you apart.
Human skills — or soft, cross-functional skills — differ from “hard” technical skills in that they are transferable and not dependent on a specific position or title. While expertise in “advanced signal processing techniques” might look more impressive on a resume, your leadership or interpersonal skills will allow you to excel and advance within an organization.
Your human skills are intrinsic to your unique character and ability to form relationships with others. Leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and emotional intelligence are capabilities a machine will never be able to replicate.
Take communication as an example: recent AI technologies possess an uncanny ability to write compelling, logical arguments. But in a business setting, that’s only half the work. Your body language and the tone of your voice are also essential when communicating with colleagues. If a co-worker has concerns over a new proposal you are putting forward, your emotional intelligence will help you see their perspective and address their concerns.
If you are presenting a technical report full of graphs, charts and data, you will need presentation and storytelling techniques to share your findings so non-specialists can easily comprehend.
But just because they are called human skills does not mean they are innate. You need formal training and practice to develop them. So how do you hone these skills to be competitive in the future?
University-level continuing education programs provide the answer.
The York University School of Continuing Studies’ business programs prepare students for the future of work by helping them develop a robust cross-functional skill set.
Our part-time and full-time Business Administration Certificates use a cohort format where students progress through a program with a set group of peers, allowing them to build relationships and practice these soft skills through deliberate practice in accelerated courses.
As the future looms and the world becomes more dominated by technology, possessing a strong human skill set is vital. Your ability to inspire others, form relationships, persuade and reassure your colleagues are the future-proof abilities you need to remain adaptable and relevant for your entire career.
Join Program Manager, Nicole Pereira and Instructor, Salman Khan for an in-depth information session. They will provide information about our Business Administration programs and answer your questions.