What kind of skills do workers need?
Skilled workers´ jobs have certainly changed compared to what they were a generation or two ago and what the perception of them may still be.
Image: Garage before and now
In developed countries, nearly all of the jobs that were unskilled or semi-skilled have either been automated out of existence or the jobs have been moved out of the country in search of cheaper labour. The jobs that are remaining in manufacturing are really focused on operating, maintaining or programming the machines that are doing a lot of the actual manual labour and hard work that used to be done by human beings.
OECD run a Ministerial Meeting June 2016 about the Digital Economy: Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity. They write that as technology has made our lives easier, it has made the job market more complex. Some full-time, long-term jobs are being turned into an uneven flow of “on-demand” ones. The skills needed today are not necessarily going to be those in demand tomorrow. While some jobs are no longer required, new jobs and job functions are being created all the time. Appropriate policy measures are needed to favour the transfer of resources – labour, investment, firms – from declining to growing sectors. How can we train the workforce of the future? What will be the skills mix required – technical, managerial, communications? How can we ensure that the lower-skilled and older workers are prepared and can adapt? New approaches to education, training and re-skilling to meet the fast-changing demand for new skills, as well as fostering employment creation in new economic activities will be key to the advancement of the digital economy.
Image: Freddie`s Plumbing Service before and now.
Skilled workers also need a high degree of technical skills; they need a better understanding of the technology that’s running machines they are using in their work; and they need to be able to interact with these machines on the fly, which requires a degree of problem-solving skill.
There has been a change of skills worker’s needs. This is an ongoing change. Skilled workers tomorrow have to be equipped with skills they did not need years back.