When reflecting on epochs in world history, historians often make reference to an ancient Chinese curse – ‘May you live in interesting times!’
Today, we live in a time characterised by rapid technology transformation and resulting social and economic disruption. Today, few institutions have remained untouched. The results can be dislocation, upheaval and opportunity. Disruption is in the air. We are in the cusp of the Fourth Industrial revolution or the Digital Era– a period of massive technological disruptions and of interesting times.
In the digital era managers will have to be prepared for cognitive computing advances and be able to use the new tools and to work together with “cobots”, collaborative robots and advanced software tools.
Two broad trends are shaping the digital age: an acceleration in the rate at which new technologies are adopted and the ongoing disruption that these new technologies are causing to the economy. Hence, marked by constant technological breakthroughs that repeatedly disrupt the business world, the digital era will require 21st century workers to constantly re-educate themselves.
While 21st century workers will need to master new hard skills to keep up with advances in technology, they also will need to develop softer practical skills. That’s because tomorrow’s jobs will require workers who can create content or judge the relevance of information.
More than one-third of jobs will require workers who can solve complex problems. About one in five jobs will need workers with social skills such as emotional intelligence, a service orientation, and the ability to negotiate and collaborate with others. In addition, about 15% of jobs will require cognitive skills such as creativity and mathematical reasoning. In fact, creativity will become one of the most important skills for the workforce, because creative people will invent new business models, products, ways of working and customer experiences. Taken together, these predictions indicate that workers can no longer expect to be employed at one or two firms for their entire careers, using skills they mastered in their 20s. Cutting-edge management education offered through reputable business schools, delivers the skills and experiences that will ensure that tomorrow’s workers are employable for as long as they want to hold jobs.
MANCOSA is a leading distance higher education provider across Southern Africa. Through a wide variety of accredited and recognised management programmes, MANCOSA is committed to developing and preparing managers and leaders for the new realities of the relentless technological revolutions and disruptions of the future.