Soft skills to rule future jobs

Over the next decade, the job market is going to change dramatically. Old jobs will disappear because of the rise of automation and new ones will arise from new technologies. This change has already begun in Canada, with experts pointing to the “quiet crisis” currently affecting our young people that makes it increasingly difficult for them to find meaningful work.

According to RBC Economics, these changes have led to a growing importance of what were once known as “soft skills.”

Soft skills are the things we don't learn in school but are invaluable in the real world, including communication, collaboration, leadership and problem solving. According to RBC, employers should value these skills as a way of predicting how a potential hire will react to the new realities of the transformed workplace. They should be considered foundational skills instead of a nice bonus.

This thinking is part of the company's recently announced 10-year focus on youth employment, in which they've challenged Canadian businesses to make fundamental changes to their hiring practices.

But just as organizations have a lot of work to do, we should also be preparing our young people for the future of work. So how can our youth build their foundational skills early and prepare themselves for the coming changes?

The major way is to get out into a work environment. Volunteering at charitable organizations, for example, doesn't just look good on a resume. These experiences also bring people from different backgrounds to work together in situations that are constantly changing. That makes them the perfect place to develop these foundational skills.

The WE Schools program is also a great educational resource to learn foundational skills, offering students the chance to pick up the abilities they need to excel in the workplace.

Based on the realities of the future job market, these skills don't just make up the foundation for a good hire. They can also make up the foundation for a lifelong career.