Guest Post: The Skills of the Future Communicator
In the last 10-15 years, a whole host of new occupations have sprung up, from app developer to social media manager to Uber driver. These jobs simply didn’t exist until cultural, social and technological changes deemed them necessary.
A new report from Davos acknowledges that learning and employment ecosystems are currently built for a world of work that is no longer reflected in reality. By 2022, it’s estimated the core skills required to perform most roles will change by 42%. To respond learning must be lifelong and skills-based, and cannot end with a graduation ceremony.
The Challenges for the PR Industry
For communicators, the one thing we can predict with some certainty is that those who understand digital transformation will always be in demand. Knowing what new technologies are, and how to work with them, is essential.
Communicators must become au fait with AI, if they are not already, and understand the crucial differences between narrow artificial intelligence (ANI) and artificial general intelligence (AGI) as well as the roles and responsibilities they might take on, and the benefits of and risks associated with each.
There is also a need to demonstrate to clients what the issues surrounding AI are, such as algorithm bias, ethics and transparency, and the future of jobs for people. Communicators need to be able to advise clients who are keen to jump on the latest bandwagon and demonstrate themselves as tech-forward and help them make the best decision for their business or brand.
Future Proofed Skills
With AI and machines set to overtake humans in terms of performing more tasks in the workplace by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), thought needs to be given to the essentially human skills that can’t be replicated by AI. It’s not as simple as automation or jobs or a straight choice between the two. There will increasingly be a need for so-called softer skills, like analytical thinking and innovation, creativity, critical thinking and analysis, leadership, and emotional intelligence.
By contrast, the WEF anticipates skills like management, including of personnel and of finance and resources, to decline in significance as machines take over these tasks. This is backed by a survey from Salesforce, in which 73 percent of hiring managers said creative and abstract thinking would become more important in candidates.
The Jobs of the Future
The WEF estimates 65 percent of children of primary school age today, will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that aren’t on our radars yet, in the same way, Uber drivers and app developers weren’t a decade ago.
The role and function of communications professionals will change to reflect the changed landscape. Sales and marketing are likely to increasingly come under the belt of communicators, as simple and overt sales tactics give way to sustain relationships that are carefully nurtured and developed over time. The PR industry will become increasingly defined by its creativity, and its ability to adapt to change.
Jobs are no longer for life, but learning is. No matter how skilled a professional, the pace of change dictates that lifelong learning is absolutely essential. The communicators that succeed will be those that commit not only to understanding technological advancement and the digital landscape, but also the skills that technology can’t replicate or replace.
About Natalia Bucelnikova
Natalia is the founder of Future Communicators Accelerator, a programme that helps PR and marketing professionals, startup leaders and CEOs develop and hone the vital skills that ensure they are geared up for the future of the sector. Workshops, panel sessions, and presentations cover leadership, global trends, measurement, creative development and much more. You can find out more about Future Communicators and the upcoming San Francisco event here.