If you’re over 40 and reading this, no doubt ‘back in the day’ the idea of finding a job and going to work was fairly straightforward.

You left school, looked in the local newspaper for a job, applied with a CV – that stated your qualifications, work experience, and hobbies – went for an interview, and if successful, once your references were checked, you started on your career journey.

In a relatively short amount of time, the advances in technology and the changes in workplace requirements have changed the way we all apply for work, but culturally, have we truly adapted to what we are being told the modern work environment needs? 

While the digital application process has moved on with the likes of Seek, Hirevue, and the plethora of other platforms now familiar to most, how has the CV moved on? 

For example, ATEED’s own innovative Go with Tourism platform allows job seekers to build an online profile to be matched with employers, based on preferences like wanting to work outdoors, rather than submit a CV. It recently received $5.2 million government funding to be rolled out as part of a national programme to build the tourism workforce.

What skills do you now need to include on your resume to ensure you stand-out from the crowd?

Uniquely human

Soft skills is the latest phrase being used by thought-leaders on the future of work. If you want to get ahead in your profession, then having personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people is a must have. This makes perfect sense when you think about it, because humans have soft skills in spades, while automation, robots and AI don’t. If you’re worried that technology is out to get your job, don’t panic just yet, because our unique human skills will always be needed in the workplace.

The table below sets out the skillsets required by employers in 2015 and compares to the requirements in 2020 (many of which are already being adopted by forward-thinking employers) determined by research done by the World Economic Forum. If you compare the two, you can see there is some cross-over, but the skills needed as an employee in 2015 focused on functional, logical and formal capabilities in order to achieve objectives and fulfil job requirements. This is in contrast to the future employee who will succeed with a far more creative, collaborative and agile approach to problem solving.  

Top 10 skills required for work in 2020 vs 2015

The soft skill which doesn’t even feature on the 2015 list is emotional intelligence. What is emotional intelligence or EQ as it’s more commonly called? What does it really mean and why is it important as a skill for the future of work? 

Justin Durocher, Robotic Process Automation Lead (Financial Transformation) at Auckland Council thinks EQ is made up of a number of other skills including empathy, resilience, trust and the ability to recognise how others are feeling. He believes this is important in the workplace in order to be able to build relationships, work collaboratively, and develop inclusion across an organisation.

“Everyone wants to feel appreciated, heard and respected in all work environments, whether you work in a factory or an office.”  

One might argue that this has always been the case, however Durocher believes there has been a recent cultural shift. He says, “Different generations are now making up the workforce and they have very different expectations. It’s not just the influence of the millennials but it’s the next generation too. They are seeking different outcomes. Yes, the bottom line is important but so are a company’s values, sustainability and longevity. People want to enjoy their job, working from where they want to, when they want to do it.”

Justin Durocher and his colleague Michelle Collins have first-hand experience of changes in the workplace and the rise of soft skills. Both have led a massive change at Auckland Council with the introduction of bots (a colloquial term for software that mimics digital human actions) which have been introduced to undertake repetitive tasks, allowing staff to upskill or be redeployed to undertake work that requires all the soft skills that the bots aren’t able to imitate. 

Organisational transformation

Michelle Collins, a Robotic Process Automation Lead and Continuous Improvement Analyst at Auckland Council, admits, “For any organisation undertaking change, one of the biggest challenges is getting everyone on board. We didn’t want people to feel they were simply being replaced by bots, and we needed to know what other skills they had which could be transferred across the organisation.”

Collins created a competency framework, and staff were asked to complete an online questionnaire to determine the skills they have and the level of these. She says, ‘This gave every individual a key insight into what they excelled at and what they needed further training on. It meant that teams could be restructured based on critical skills needed and it enabled staff to look at self-development in order to continue to acquire new skills.” 

The programme has been a great success at the Council, with bots automating everyday tasks and people spending more time in customer and service roles. There are also plans underway to roll-out the competency framework across other council organisations.

Durocher concludes, “We undertook a huge transformation at the Council which gained efficiencies and cost-savings but more importantly gave staff a chance to be heard and recognised. I truly believe that it is the duty of any organisation to invest and support staff in developing new skills so that they can adapt and be flexible for whatever the future workplace has in store.”

If you would like more information on soft skills, the programme undertaken by Auckland Council or the competency framework, contact Michelle.

Tāmaki Makaurau is becoming future ready.

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