Why You Need Social Skill

Though the current administration in the US makes political hay by blaming Mexicans, Chinese, and other “bad hombres” for job losses, outsourcing is only a minor cause.  Of the five million factory jobs lost since 2000, only 13% of them were lost to outsourcing.  The rest were lost to automation.

Not only that but according to McKinsey Global Institute, globally, 800 million jobs will be automated, 39 to 73 million in the US alone by 2030.

Despite what you might hear, from 2006 to 2013, US manufacturing grew 17.6% or about 2.2% per year.  It’s just that they didn’t need people to do the work.

A study from Oxford to which many journals refer to makes some general comments about the job losses.

 … the “fine arts”, “originality”, “negotiation”, “persuasion”, “social perceptiveness”, and “assisting and caring for others”, variables, all exhibit relatively high values in the low risk category.

…  “manual dexterity”, “finger dexterity” and “cramped work space”[are higher risk]

… occupations requiring knowledge of human heuristics, and specialist occupations involving the development of novel ideas and artifacts, are the least susceptible to computerisation.

.., while it seems counterintuitive that sales occupations, which are likely to require a high degree of social intelligence, will be subject to a wave of computerisation in the near future, high risk sales occupations include, for example, cashiers, counter and rental clerks, and telemarketers.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has a graphic that illustrates how various occupations will fare.

The above illustration makes what is happening clear when it says, “Jobs that require social skills, creativity or higher education are less likely [to be automated.”

No matter what your job, the people with the best social skills advance the fastest, make the most money, and will be the last to go. Looking at the type of jobs from 2000 to 2013 gives a clear picture.

How safe are you?

Even if you are not one of the 4 million Uber, Lyft, and truck drivers that will be losing their jobs in the next few years, your occupation will be changing in unexpected ways.  You will depend on your relationships with others more than ever. Your success depends on your people skills.

The clock is ticking, invest in your future now.


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