An ability to communicate successfully will be all the more important in the job market of the future, especially since automation and robotics are set to be tomorrow’s main industries.
In fact, good social skills — like persuasion and emotional intelligence — will be prized above “narrow” skills in years to come, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) The Future of Jobs report. Narrow skills refers to niche abilities ― such as programming or equipment operation and control ― that are required to secure jobs in a specific industry. Besides social skills, here some other critical life skills your kiddo must have to excel in the work place of tomorrow.
1) Problem-solving skills
WHY The ability to analyse a problem critically and come up with smart solutions for complex issues will set your kiddo apart from his peers in this competitive world we are living in. Being able to find answers to the whys and what-ifs are prized skills of the future.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Whenever junior shoots you a question about the world around him — it can be as random as why bees harvest honey — task him to search for the answer. Later, ask him to share what he has learnt. You want him to start being proactive in seeking answers to questions.
WHY Thanks to online competition and the rise in e-commerce, “sales and related jobs (like marketing) will see an increased demand for creative skills and ideas for promoting a memorable shopping experience”, notes WEF’s The Future of Jobs report. In other words, your child will have the best chance of outshining his peers if he is able to come up with new and innovative solutions.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Playing with Lego will encourage your young ’un to flex his creativity and imagination to construct different structures. He can also explore doing simple art projects like designing themed family greeting cards — say, in the style of a movie poster. Get him to decide on a theme or let him come up with clever and witty tag lines to promote “the movie”.
3) Social and emotional intelligence
WHY Smartphones, smart watches, smart TVs — look around you and you’ll realise that our world populated with an ever-growing number of “smart” devices that can offer solutions to questions we pose. While it can provide answers to questions like “Find me the nearest convenience store”, it will struggle with feeling-oriented questions as these cannot be hard-coded into a machine. Your child’s empathy and ability to read a person’s emotions based on their gestures and body language will make him a useful resource.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Sign him up for charity and volunteer activities and encourage him to join the school’s debate club. Such opportunities will give him exposure to different situations other people live in, as well as to their points of view.
Your child’s empathy and ability to read a person’s emotions based on their gestures and body language will make him a useful resource.
4) Cross-cultural knowledge
WHY Thanks to technology, the distance between two individuals living in opposite corners of the world has shrunk. Connecting with a pal halfway across the world away — even maintaining a long-distance relationship — is as easy with the click of a button. That said, eventhough physical distances are easily bridged, cultural differences still exist. Junior’s understanding of various cultures will boost communication, productivity and unity in a workplace that’s becoming increasingly multi-cultural in its makeup.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Family vacations in various parts of the world, as well as participating in school exchange programmes, will enable your tween to learn about what makes people in other countries tick. Empathy and understanding another person’s culture allows junior to fine-tune his communication skills and express himself sensitively, so that what he says persuades rather than offends.
5) Love for learning
WHY Tech advancements call for workers to acquire new skills and solve a new set of problems to be solved. So, he’ll do well in the future if he has an open mind, an insatiable curiosity and has a passion for learning.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Get him to write reflection journals ― thinking things through is a commonly overlooked aspect of learning. Taking stock of what one has experienced can benefit them, whether they’ve faced a personal high or disappointing low. Your child should remain upbeat in the face of failure if he understands that he has gained something, despite not achieving a goal.
6) Tech etiquette
WHY As a digital native, your child needs to be adept at more than just operating the newest gadget or application, knowing when it’s suitable for use, too. For instance, he’ll need to be able to pick the right medium — videos, photos, text or combination of all three — to communicate different kinds of information so that he can persuade another party.
HOW TO BOOST THIS SKILL Get into the habit of making home videos. Even if it means making a silly parody of a TV show. Doing a multimedia project allows junior to think visually — what images and sounds will move viewers to feel or think in a certain way.
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