Thriving in the AI era: Three ways to future-proof your skill set
July 14, 2023
New AI technology has sparked fear of mass redundancies and changes to the labour market. We look at how GenZ can thrive in the AI era by future-proofing their skills. The emergence of OpenAI’s Chat GPT in November took the world by storm. The large language-based AI model is scarily impressive, with the ability to answer most questions, imitate speech patterns and access seemingly endless knowledge. These impressive developments have left many of us wondering, what does AI technology mean for the future of the job market? Or put more simply, will AI take my job? While the technology is still far from perfect, the global AI industry is booming with an estimated price tag of $136.6 billion in 2022. Some early predictions by Goldman Sachs estimate that 300 million jobs will be lost or diminished with the rise of AI. On the flipside ‘automation creates innovation’ and alongside jobs lost, new jobs will be created. Still, these predictions are ringing alarm bells, especially for GenZ, who are just starting to enter the labour market.Concerns about the changing world of work have led to a renewed sense of urgency for improving our skills, in a way which increases our resilience to the AI revolution. Instead of fighting against technological advancements, we should be focusing on future-proofing our skill sets. This is at the forefront of our minds, as we prepare to celebrate World Youth Skills day on 15th July, focusing on “the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.” How to prepare your skills for employment, in the world of AI?Build up your durable skills As impressive as AI is, with its seemingly endless recall of knowledge, there are still many human skills that it can’t replicate. These are commonly known as durable skills. According to Mckinsey, the top three skills in the age of AI are: critical thinking, intellectual curiosity and flexibility. Working to foster and grow these is crucial if you want to set yourself apart and emphasise your human talent. One way to build up your arsenal of durable skills is through learning by doing. T-levels, internships and apprenticeships all offer alternative ways to learn, letting you put your knowledge to practical use. T-levels are new technical qualifications that include on the job-learning, while still equipping students with the knowledge and qualifications needed for university. We interviewed Tom Whitlow, director of Audio Skills, who recently hosted a digital t-level student placement. He found that: “When Alex [the student] started, interpersonal and communication skills were not his strong point. By the end of the placement, he grew in confidence in himself. His communication improved and I was receiving regular updates on his work. I think he really developed as a person, specifically as a working person.”Engage in life-long learningTechnology is always expanding and evolving, this has a direct impact on the job market, having the power to make certain professions redundant. It’s not a new phenomenon, as research shows that 60% of workers are in professions which didn’t exist in the 1940s. Nevertheless, developments in AI will likely result in changes happening at a faster pace than before. To stay competitive and relevant in a quickly changing job market, it’s vital to become a life-long learner. Upskilling and re-skilling are crucial to ensure you don’t get left behind. It’s not just about what you’re learning, but also how - with self-guided and online learning growing in popularity since the pandemic. Short bursts of video content, delivered regularly, work best for our ever-diminishing attention spans. This means life-long, self-guided learning can be as easy as following educational creators on social media. Make the most of AI technologyAI doesn’t have to be a threat, properly managed it can be an incredible asset for all of us. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use AI to your advantage. Not only does it help with generating ideas, it can also automate boring, repetitive tasks, meaning more time to spend on the creative aspects of our work.Kirill, 16, is a digital teen on MyPocketSkill, who has found AI to be a complete game changer. “AI has allowed me to achieve more for clients, in the time they have booked. It also provides me with insights which I may have otherwise missed.”He has found that AI can be beneficial in breaking down barriers for content creation. “All my tasks are social media-based, and often clients may not have much usable footage to create reels, shorts, and TikToks, or they may not like being on camera. AI helps resolve issues like this. For example, using Studio D-ID can help you generate a spokesperson and Eleven Labs helps with generating voice-overs.” For those interested in AI creation, Kirill advises “learning how to build AIs will not only help you stay ahead of the curve but also help you to land bigger clients.”Putting these tips into practice on MyPocketSkillOn our platform, we aim to prepare GenZ for the world of work, especially as it changes and evolves with AI technology. When young people start earning on MyPocketSkill, they also pick up important durable skills, such as: managing clients, problem solving and time-management. Sophia, a 16-year-old tutor, found that “through MyPocketSkill, I have learned patience and communication can go a long way, whether that is when tutoring someone or deciding your availability for lessons or client calls.”For teens who want to develop these skills in a more formal way, we’ve created an upskilling academy, with handpicked courses to improve skills around social media, digital design, photography and more. Completing free courses like these, can improve a young person’s chances of getting booked, and at the same time prepare their skill set for the era of AI.Pati Piotrowska is the Youth Policy and Impact Analyst at MyPocketSkill. She holds an MSc in Gender, Peace and Security from the London School of Economics.