AI is increasing its presence in the workforce and as it continues to evolve, employers, are looking to hire people with three in-demand skills:  digital skills, analytical abilities, and continuous learning capabilities.  A new report from Microsoft and the International Data Corporation found that four in five business leaders in Asia Pacific believe AI will transform their company within the next three years. Microsoft’s report found that by 2021, there will be an excess of traditional cognitive and manual skills but a significant lack of higher cognitive capabilities, as well as social and technological skills.

According to Kevin Wo, Microsoft’s managing director in Singapore, the demand for AI skills creates a disconnect with employee expectations.  77% of employees expect their company to help them develop skills to adapt to this changing environment but the responsibility really lies with the employee themselves.  “I think there is a need for them to learn about skills around design thinking,” says Wo. Employees will need to start from continuous learning and advance into the digital and analytical skills.  One model of a solutions-based approach to problem-solving breaks the process into five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

To that end, Wo encouraged employees to surround themselves with fellow coworkers who are also looking to up their skills.  An organization needs that kind of teamwork to create and promote change.  “I think having that peer group where they all feel there’s a need to drive change,” says Wo, “they all feel there is a need to bring about that change in the organization helps to enhance threat creativity mindset and culture.”

Matthew Friedman, a chief digital officer who attended the report’s launch, concurs that teamwork is essential.  New hires at his firm require a strong creative problem-solving skill both individually and when working with a group.  “Even if you’re going to build an application in Python, you still need a full-stack programmer, you still need someone to do data governance,” he said.  “How well they can bring a team together and rally a team is important.”


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