People responding to artificial intelligence by focussing on their ‘human skills’

Globally, workers are focused on developing their human skills, even as they see a future dominated by technology-driven work, artificial intelligence and automationGlobally, workers are focused on developing their human skills, even as they see a future dominated by technology-driven work, artificial intelligence and automation, according to a new study from Pearson. For the latest edition of the Pearson Skills Outlook series [registration], Pearson partnered with Google to examine how and why people in the US, UK, India, and Brazil are looking to upskill as they face a rapidly changing economy.

Pearson Skills Outlook: Employee View, the survey of 4,000 workers across those four labour markets, claims that people are most interested in careers in the tech and business-related fields such as e-commerce, software services, data science, and financial services. However, they believe that they will need to focus on human skills to land these jobs or advance in their current role. They believe human skills – like problem solving, leadership, and teamwork – are the most attractive to employers now and in the future.

These are the top two human skills that workers in each market are actively prioritising developing and maintaining to advance their careers:

  • US: Problem solving; Decision making
  • UK: Problem solving; Teamwork
  • Brazil: Teamwork; Leadership
  • India: Teamwork; Data processing

Looking to the future, the top two skills workers want to train for remain focused on human skills in markets other than India:

  • US: Leadership; Entrepreneurial skills and Project management [Tie]
  • UK: Leadership; Problem solving
  • Brazil: Language skills; Leadership
  • India: Problem solving; Coding / Programming, Data processing, and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning [Tie]

The report also suggests that in non-English speaking countries, learning English is emerging as a key skill for employees to advance in their careers, according to 85 percent of Indians and 77 percent of Brazilians.

“This valuable new research shows that job seekers are prioritising human skills at a time when machine learning and artificial intelligence are having an increasing influence on work,” said Mike Howells, president of Pearson Workforce Skills. “Human skills are proving critical to personal and organisational success, and workers are motivated to sharpen and develop those skills to stay competitive and advance their careers.”

The study also found that the majority of workers (73 percent of Americans, 68 percent of British, 89 percent of Indians and 70 percent of Brazilians) also say they prefer to learn via their employer. And an even higher number expect their employer will increase or maintain learning and development opportunities.

In a world where people are living and working longer, and having multiple careers, the Skills Outlook series provides guidance to employers, employees, and job seekers on where they should focus their training, education, and learning. While Pearson’s second Skills Outlook report, conducted in September 2022, examined skilling through an employees’ lens, the first study identified the most in-demand skills from an employer’s perspective.