People-Skills Wanted

Like many I keep wondering if our use of technology is replacing human skills and making them redundant. The mere idea that this may not be quite so makes me, and hopefully others, stop and take notice. The idea comes from a paper “The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market” by David Deming who is Assistant Professor of economics at Harvard, a paper being given a more public airing by being the subject of an article in the online site The paper comes from research that points out that until fairly recently, one needed hard skills in order to have a job that paid very well, skills like those of engineering, or math. It is not so any longer, people skills are now needed. This doesn’t mean that people skills have supplanted hard skills, it just means that the ante has upped, that prospective employees need hard skills as well as social skills. Someone needing a high paying job needs to learn how to communicate, how to be a team player. Please note social skills do not mean one has to be a good person, but it does mean one has to be able to get along with others. More and more to be something like a job manager or a consultant, or the kind of job that pays a high salary, a prospective employee also has to have interpersonal skills, because Deming says, “computers aren’t good at simulating human interaction.” Some have thought that the number of technical jobs has slowed but Deming’s paper challenges that asking, have they really slowed or has their number grown instead? To him there has been a shift towards technical jobs that also demands social skills. All the while jobs that require cognitive knowledge like doctors, lawyers, accountants, physical therapist or dentist require more social and interpersonal skills have also seen wage growth.
It does look like we are beginning to discover the part of being human that’s difficult to duplicate. Let’s hope the trend continues.

One thought on “People-Skills Wanted”

  1. I am totally a propionate of this view….Relationship the the lesson of/for our times! Unfortunately, not many of us receive training in the art of relationship. My sense is that relationship begins “at home,” in one’s own body—with Core Support and Total Body Connectivity.

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