Nine Non-Tech Skills IT Workers Should Master to Thrive in the Automation Era


The World Economic Forum polled 300 global corporations in 2020 and discovered that 43% intend to cut their workforces as a result of new technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence. As organizations seek solutions that can outdo humans, the need to upskill continuously becomes a no-brainer. To compete effectively in the years ahead, tech workers should acquire new skills that we at Toolbox have compiled in the article below.

“Technology is going to change the workforce,” says David Burns, the senior vice president and CIO of manufacturing and supply chain at GE. “With the greater adoption of technology, in-demand skills across all jobs will change, and the skill gaps between available workers to fill those jobs will be high.”

In 2018 PwC research predicted that 38% of U.S. jobs could be performed by automation within 15 years. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already being used to augment the capabilities of knowledge workers. Deloitte predicts that the future workforce will be made up of employees working side-by-side with contractors and AI and automation. While this human-machine collaboration will allow firms to perform work faster, many conventional positions will be eliminated.

In 2020, the World Economic Forum surveyed 300 global companies and found that 43% expect to replace their workforces with new technology, including robotics and artificial intelligence. Eighty-five million jobs may be displaced due to the shifting division of labor between humans and machines. But, at the same time, 95 million jobs will be created that will be more adapted to this new division of labor. And for these new jobs, “human skills” will become increasingly important. These are the skills that machines cannot replicate. 

See More: Key Skills Tech Employees Need for Digital Transformation

These “human skills” are predicted to be in demand until 2025, according to survey respondents for the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020. These abilities are detailed below, and they are grouped into three categories:

Critical Thinking and Problem-solving skills Required for the Automation Age

Analytical skills and innovation

Those who can use data analytics to derive actionable insights from vast amounts of data and then use those insights for better business decision-making will be most in demand. 

Complex problem solving

Another skill that competes favorably with machines is complex problem solving, or the ability to see relationships between industries and derive solutions from them to resolve the still unmet needs of the consumer. 

Critical thinking and analysis

This skill involves one’s ability to objectively analyze a situation and come up with a logical and free of bias solution. 

Creativity, originality and initiative

Almost every list of talents for the next decade includes creative problem solving, or the ability to look at issues from many viewpoints and come up with novel and effective solutions. It involves approaching problems like a designer who considers what the consumer needs when creating and developing products and services to meet those needs. This is one human skill that even AI can not replicate. 

Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

Reasoning based on data alone requires patience so as not to come to false conclusions and a deep understanding of AI-driven technologies. This skill demands the employee to extract relevant information from large amounts of data and come to a conclusion that may be utilized to construct thoughts that will guide an organization’s future path.

See More: 8 Tech Skills to Master If You Want the Big Fat Paycheck in 2022

Self-management Skills that IT Works Should Master

Learning techniques and active learning

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, half of all workers will require retraining. Moreover, 94% of company owners polled want employees to learn new skills on the job. As a result, the most sought-after employees will be those who are ready and able to retrain and reinvent themselves throughout their careers, rather than those who have spent years learning complicated skills like data analysis or software development. IT leaders will be expected to constantly learn about new technologies that will most likely benefit their organizations.

Resilience, stress management, flexibility

The ability to control your emotions via self-awareness has been mentioned as a necessity for future professions. Workers in the digital world must adapt to the quickly changing environment. As Kim Smith, venture strategist and chief innovation officer at IBM, observes: You can have someone who’s top-tier and technically capable, but if they’re entrenched and inflexible and their emotional intelligence quotient is not wired to be OK with change and failure, that one individual can be toxic to the organization as a whole.”

Working with People’s Skills


To guide their team and their company in the correct path, organizations that embrace and benefit from the newest technology developments will require competent and adaptable leaders who can take on a variety of tasks and have strong communication and team cooperation abilities. As employers look to replace their current workforce with remote workers, communication and collaboration skills will become more demanded. Burns further advises that IT leaders “need the ability to look beyond the day-to-day work you have to do. It’s far better to spend 5% of your time looking to the future than 100% of your time dealing with what’s in your inbox.”

Social influence

Employers are also seeking workers who can effectively use social networks and applications to communicate the organization’s product offerings and promote brand awareness. Social media communication skills could include creating a YouTube video to demonstrate a process or product to sharing one’s ideas or receiving or giving feedback through communication with a wide community of people through the Internet. Workers will also need to know how to use social networks to work collaboratively, virtually, and at a distance with colleagues and clients. 

Learn, Unlearn and Relearn

As futurist Alvin Toffler once said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Technical skills quickly lose value as new technologies come online to replace them. The soft skills set humans apart from the machines that can replace them. Determine where you stand in terms of these soft skills and look for ways to improve them to keep ahead of your future machine competition. Keep abreast of new training opportunities, especially with forward-looking organizations that can provide you with access to training and allow you to rotate in and out of different roles in various departments. Employees who can readily learn, adapt, and grow to meet new technological trends will survive and thrive in the digital era. 

Do you think you have the required skills to survive the digital age? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!