Artificial intelligence and cloud computing are terms once reserved for the realms of science fiction. But, today, they’ve become an increasingly important — and lucrative — fixture of the employment landscape.
“Some of the top skills we’re seeing that are in great demand are artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing,” Feon Ang, vice president for talent and learning solutions in Asia Pacific at professional networking site LinkedIn.
The demand applies globally. However, it especially pertains to the most sought-after skills in Asia Pacific, which is currently suffering a “brain drain,” whereby talented workers are relocating overseas for better socio-economic prospects, Ang told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” Tuesday.
Tech skills should not be viewed in isolation, though — especially given the changing nature of technology.
By some measures, the average skill now lasts just six years, which means that workers should be well-equipped with the skills to adapt to the changing work environment.
Such so-called soft skills include critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving, noted Ang.
Increasingly, employers and governments are looking at ways to prepare their workforce for such shifts in the jobs landscape.
Amazon announced last month that it plans to invest $700 million to retrain a third of its workforce. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is rallying support for a universal basic income to help Americans cope with volatile future work prospects.
Non-profit organizations, such as international training academy Women Who Code, are also cropping up to address growing skills gaps.
Women Who Code provides training and support from women pursuing careers in tech specifically. But the firm’s CEO, Alaina Percival, told CNBC Tuesday that more companies should be providing training, regardless of whether or not their employees’ work is directly technical.
“This really needs to be done more broadly and it needs to be starting at even younger ages,” said Percival. “Every industry is becoming a technology industry. There aren’t enough highly skilled workers to fill the current market needs.”
However, the responsibility for picking up new skills also falls to individuals, said Ang.
She said the growing availability of free training courses has made accessing education much simpler. LinkedIn Learning, for instance, hosts a wide range of video-based courses, she noted. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 free — or partially free — programs from a consortium of 800 universities are also available online via a scheme called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
“It’s important for companies to continue to invest in their people so that they are upskilling and reskilling their people to keep up with the roles that are in demand,” said Ang.
“But, at the same time, people need to continue to invest in themselves and have a growth mind set,” she said.