A fascinating new report takes a fresh look at what the workforce is going to look like in the future and which skills will be highly sought after. According to “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030”, there will be an increased call for librarians, curators, and archivists, among other occupations.
That’s just the start of the finds in this exploration of where humans will fit in the future, complementing rather than being completely supplanted by automation. The report—released on September 28 by Pearson, Nesta, and Oxford University—asks how work will be impacted by the intersection of seven “megatrends.” Change driven by new technology, including the rise of automation, is right up top. The others are globalization, demographic change, environmental sustainability, urbanization, rising inequality, and political uncertainty.
The report considers globalization but focuses solely on the impact on the UK and the United States. “In the U.S., there is particularly strong emphasis on interpersonal skills. These skills include teaching, social perceptiveness, service orientation, and persuasion,” it notes. The “findings also confirm the importance of higher-order cognitive skills such as complex problem solving, originality, fluency of ideas, and active learning.”
“The Future of Skills” is something to read when thinking about the evolution of our work in libraries [as is our annual report on placements and salaries “Librarians Everywhere” (p. 28–34), which provides a look at what’s happening today]. Perhaps more important, it can help inform library leaders’ strategic direction as they consider how to shape services to support people of all ages through a time of rapid evolution. How will the people libraries serve be impacted by these megatrends, how will they need to learn, and what skills will they need to develop in order to thrive?
“Although the advance of automation and artificial intelligence may feel like a losing battle to some, individuals will need to focus on developing the uniquely human skills identified in this research,” the report states in a section on the implications for individual people.
According to the report, we will all also need to learn new things and develop new skills throughout our lifetimes. To help, the authors include an extensive “Glossary of Skills” mentioned in the document and offer recommendations for educators and employers.
There’s no doubt in my mind that libraries and those who work in them are here for the long haul. This report can and should stimulate conversation about how to make the long run ahead as relevant as possible for the many people who depend on libraries for the tools they need.
THE TOP 10 OCCUPATIONS
Below are the occupations classifications most likely to experience increased demand in 2030 out of the 772 tracked by the U.S. government.
- Preschool, Primary, Secondary, and Special Education School Teachers
- Animal Care and Service Workers
- Lawyers, Judges, and Related Workers
- Postsecondary Teachers
- Personal Appearance Workers
- Social Scientists and Related Workers
- Counselors, Social Workers, and Other Community and Social Service Specialists
- Librarians, Curators, and Archivists
- Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers
SOURCE: THE FUTURE OF SKILLS: EMPLOYMENT IN 2030