Is it too weird to use the power of the technology automating many job roles to identify the best humans to work alongside it?

Is it too weird to use the power of the technology automating many job roles to identify the best humans to work alongside it?

 4 Jul 2018

There are so many reports and statistics looking at jobs of the future – and it looks highly possible that up to 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 still haven’t been invented.  From a talent and recruiting perspective, that presents a significant challenge – as the rate of change accelerates, and we’re not entirely sure what the future looks like, what skills should we be looking for in the people we bring into our organisations?

Looking back, many roles that are prominent in 2018 didn’t exist 20 years ago – there’s a long list of jobs that includes drone operators, SEO specialists, offshore wind farm engineers, App developers, cyber security experts, bloggers and streamers and any job in social media.

And with the rise of robotics, AI and machine learning – it is clear that many current jobs will disappear - A McKinsey Global Institute study estimates that up to 800 million jobs that currently exist worldwide are vulnerable to automation.  But from this other jobs will undoubtedly emerge we are just not sure what they are.

So how can we prepare for this workplace of the future?  A common thought regarding skills acquisition is that as a starting point we should be teaching kids to code and that will give them some element of future job security. However, research from the University of Oxford suggests that the chance of programming roles being lost to automation is 48 percent.

Forecasting the skills that will be required is an impossible task, so we need to focus instead on what are the abilities and traits that will be most valuable?  

The McKinsey study found that the hardest things to automate are things like social and emotional capability, coordination, and the ability to identify novel patterns ‘so while we might not know what the roles are going to be called, we can think about where skills are likely to be needed or what the top skills might be.’

If routine or repetitive tasks are the most susceptible to automation, what skills are inherently human, and therefore likely to be in demand in the future?

It’s going to be social, emotional and analytical skills, things like critical thinking, complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility, creativity, negotiation, emotional intelligence, coordination and collaboration. They’re all very human traits, and will be strong skills to have.

But assessing these skills at interview and during selection processes is really challenging.  They are not obvious from a CV or previous job experience in a different environment.  And with preparation, they can be rehearsed and crafted into stories told during interview and however experienced you are as a competency based interviewer it’s hard to break down a very well-practised candidate. 

So here’s an alternative, adding something new into the talent selection process - an innovative game-based assessment which gives a clear and remarkable window into aptitude, personality and cognitive thinking style.  Using cognitive neuroscience and AI it collects thousands of data points to give an objective, meaningful and insightful. 

Of course, people have lived and worked alongside machines for centuries. Most of them have been liberating for humans such as time-saving home devices such as lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners, to calculators, personal computers, and the proliferation of mobile devices.

But now as they enter our society at an even faster pace, it’s an amusing twist that we can actually harness their abilities to help recruit the humans with the essential complementary softer skills needed we needed to work alongside them. 

Joanne McTiffin, Tindall Perry Insights


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