RESEARCH Robot-Ready: Human + Skills for the Future of Work

Strada Institute for the Future of Work & Emsi

This research explores how human skills are becoming increasingly essential in a workfoce that is becoming increasingly automated.

Key Takeaways

This paper posits that the dichotomy between liberal arts education and workforce preparation is a false one because the skills needed in an increasingly automated future of work are those human skills that machines can’t easily replicate and are essential and complementary to technical expertise. As more and more routine tasks become automated (from manufacturing to bookkeeping to legal brief writing) the greater demand is for workers with human skills of leadership, critical thinking, adaptability, collaboration, and social emotional intelligence to take on the more complex tasks not suited for automation. While employers identify the growing need for workers with these skills and liberal arts education is geared towards developing the same, the skills don’t always translate from higher education to the workforce. The authors call for a shared skill taxonomy across higher education, learners, employers, and entrepreneurs. Further, it recommends an increase in interdisciplinary problem-based learning, where students apply technical and human skills explicitly to real-world work scenarios and problems, as well as improved career advising.

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