There is a way you can predict which skills will carry the most clout in the future workplace.
Ask yourself whether those skills could be replicated through the use of machines or offshore workers. If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., a career information expert, says your future career might be headed for trouble.
To identify these transferable skills, Shatkin used the statistical procedure known as correlation to measure how closely median income correlates with 35 Occupational Information Network skills and the 747 occupations that are identified by the U.S. Department of Labour.
“Basically, when something changes consistently, it results in a higher correlation,” Shatkin tells Business Insider. “Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, but it does happen so often together that sometimes it does.”
For example, heavy smokers tend to be sick often. Before researchers had proof that smoke is harmful to the body, they knew that there was a statistically strong correlation between smoke and certain diseases. It’s not always true, but it happens enough to pinpoint an affiliation.
Most of the transferable skills that Shatkin identified with the highest correlations (1.0 being a perfect correlation) tend to be soft skills, such as “judgment and decision making,” “complex problem solving,” and “active learning.” That’s because these soft skills are harder to automate, he says, meaning it’s difficult to outsource these jobs to foreign workers or have machines replace humans to complete the tasks.
For example, “anything that requires public speaking, you can’t really send that to a foreign worker,” Shatkin explains.
Skills with the lowest correlation include equipment maintenance, repairing, installation, and troubleshooting, which all require some form of training (and re-training) to efficiently do the job.
Below, Shatkin gave us permission to post his list of the most valuable transferable skills:
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