Future of Work: Spotting future talents

Posted on: May 30, 2017 by Peter Kalmijn

By 2020 many occupations will undergo a fundamental transformation and will be still in on-going transition. Evolving change will be the constant factor and many exciting opportunities will open up for people and businesses alike. New and matured evolved technology will enable businesses and consumers to interact in new ways, using wearable devices to assist us in the way we will live, work and do business. By 2020 the 4th Industrial revolution will be in full swing globally, effectively eroding local and global monopolies of both intellectual and physical work.

Developments such as artificial intelligence and deep learning, mobile robotics, wearables, nanotechnology and 3D printing are building upon today's modern technology such as IoT platforms, Big Data Analytics and Cloud technology. These developments are amplifying each other and enabling a host of innovative new things. People at work will need to think in creative and divergent ways to keep addressing new upcoming business challenges. This time using the advanced technology available in the near future. The 21st century calls out for creative, curious, out-of-the-box thinkers, utilizing their vivid imagination, getting the big picture and recognizing patterns.

With the past three industrial revolutions, decades were required to rebuild training systems and gear labor market institutions developing the required new skill sets on a large scale. However with the fast pace and huge scale of disruption the Fourth Industrial Revolution, taking your time simply is not an option.

Old Skills becoming obsolete

The handwriting was an extremely important skill for 5,000 years. It was for centuries the only reliable way passing information down from generation to generation. But in the 21st century, it is very unlikely that young people’s handwriting will assist them in gaining employment in their adult lives. Still, most education is still mainly based on an auditory-sequential learning style, which was stressed throughout formal education. Youngsters traditionally graded on their mastery of sequential subjects: reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. Thus effectively filtering out the talent of a different kind: the creativity, high visualization skills and seeing the greater picture in a holistic way. And the ability to see from many different perspectives and solve problems in an integral way, are becoming increasingly critical. These skills have been mostly peripheral in classical education. Today, however, we see the decline of writing, and the rapid advance of all kinds of visual interaction: vlogging, video chat, augmented reality, hologram technology and serious gaming in education and business.

Enjoy an interview with Dr. Michio Kaku "Why Our Education System is Flawed".

New times demand new skills

As with the fourth industrial revolution, industries adjust and new industries are born, a lot of occupations will undergo fundamental transformations. Seismic Technological advances and the broad access to it, along with the demographic and socioeconomic trends are affecting Business Models, and are the drivers of 21st centuries change. These imminent, and maybe impending and sometimes disrupting transformations, however, hold great promises for future job creation.

Already now Big Data Analytics needs Data Scientists modeling data into information, Machine Learning needs professionals teaching cognitive systems to turn information into insights. IoT needs Business Analysts, envisioning and modeling IoT-driven business processes using Automated Decisioning using both decision- and process models to turn these insights into action. The future will throw more new technologies into the equation. Augmented reality, holographic imaging, and internet-everywhere will free professionals to go to a specific location to work. New professionals will use brain-extending cognitive capabilities and will co-work with humanoid, non-humanoid robots and virtual employees. Professionals will rely on sophisticated devices implanted and integrated within their human body and will merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence, entering transhumanism. New occupations will emerge, as old jobs will die out. We will see Artificial Intelligence mediating and resolving legal disputes. And we will see Artificial Intelligence and virtual holographic teachers act as classroom assistants. And we will see the creative, innovative and inventing type of occupations on the rise.

Concerted effort

Both short-term promises and future perspectives will require proactive adaptation by professionals, corporations, governmental bodies and even whole societies. New times inevitably will change the professional skill sets required to be successful, and will without any doubt transform how and where people work. The need for this new skill sets calls out loud for an urgent and concerted effort for adjustment and development.


The hardest barrier to overcome is probably changing the way we used to think about education, people management, professional fulfillment, and work. The unconscious bias among old way thinking managers, unconsciously sticking to old people-judgement patterns impairs and hampers spotting 21st century talent in the own workforce and the recruitment of new talent.

Key issues and impact

  • Organizations need to keep eyes open for hidden talent. Special talents like visual-spacial thinking, certain personality traits, eagerness to experiment, explore and learn new things will make the difference over formal education. An autodidactic attitude may be highly valuable.
  • Official and formal education occasionally may help, but the old education system has to change fundamentally to successfully deliver the education needed in the 4th industrial revolution.

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About Peter Kalmijn
Business Engineer of the Digital Transformation and member of the Scientific Community
IT Consultant at Atos, Netherlands. Peter is a visual-spatial thinker with an international multi-cultural background. He has a special interest in IoT, Automated Decisioning, Enterprise Decision Management and Business Rules. And combines his interest in creative ways with over 30 years of IT experience gained with business- and software engineering. Peter authored various papers and articles and speaks at events. Additionally, he is lead-trainer of the Atos EDM related courses. He dedicates his time helping organizations with Digital Transformation. Peter is thought-leader of the Atos competence Business Information Analysis (BIA) and Guild Master of Atos "Enterprise Decision Management". He is a member of the Scientific Community and the Atos expert network with a focus on Model Driven Development, Business Information Analysis, Process Modelling, Decision Modeling and Automated Decisioning.

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