It’s well known that industries and jobs change constantly because of new innovations such as the rapid emergence of AI. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that as many as 44% of workers’ core skills will change within the next 3 years. Many students are finding themselves wondering if the skills being taught at school are valid to help them get a future job.

AISB DP Coordinator, Aliza Robinson, shared how AISB and the IB are responding. When asked about the change in skill requirements, Robinson recalls seeing the demand in skills change when COVID was at its peak as students were looking to study and eventually work in more diverse countries. Robinson shared that more students are taking Spanish classes now as Spain is becoming a more popular destination for students due to the strong educational opportunities.

Robinson also said that IB courses are developing based on the popularity of certain careers. For example, the IB Business Management course was introduced at AISB  primarily because of the increase in business management positions throughout the business world.

Robinson followed up by stating that the most universally applicable and in demand skills are the Approaches to Learning skills (ATLs) which are less about what students learn and more about how they learn. These skills prepare students to quickly adapt and learn in new situations. 

She also says that these skills are valued differently than more traditionally practical skills. “If I wanted to be an English teacher I wouldn’t have to have read every Shakespeare text,” instead teachers “need to know how to talk to people, how to be in front of a group of people.”

Robinson comments on the recent changes in technology by saying that adaptability is another skill that is not only being looked for in employment but also important for students and young people to be able to adapt to an ever-changing world.

She finishes by saying that it’s never too late to change jobs or that even if you didn’t get into a school you wanted to, it’s important to know that there are many doors that remain open even post-graduation.

According to Masterson, the most sought-after skills are creative and analytical thinking,  mental resilience, flexibility, agility, motivation, curiosity and constant learning.

Tenth grade student Christopher S. discusses the skills he anticipates needing to be a computer scientist. Firstly he says that the skills he likely needs to succeed in computer science are social skills and creativity.

He says “creativity plays into problem-solving, getting around certain barriers with solutions that are efficient and not taking too many resources” and that social skills are important to collaborate with others and to work with other departments.

AISB’s human resources manager, Roxana Lungu shares the process behind hiring staff at AISB.

Lungu says that when choosing between candidates there are several factors they consider. They look at the applicant’s education and degrees; someone with a master’s degree is more likely to be hired than someone with a bachelor’s degree. They also consider the field the degree is in and the relevant experience the candidate has. Candidates are also interviewed by leadership staff to determine if they’re ‘good people’ and if they fit the school and will help to grow the AISB community.

She explains that the modern hiring process is starting to value skills other than simply academic ones. Communication, leadership and organizational skills (among others) are combined with qualifications and experience when looking for the best candidate for a job. 

Lungu believes that AI is a tool that can be used to execute low-level labor but will never replace human creativity, social abilities, leadership skills or the education required to complete specialized work. That said, AI is already being used in hiring as it can access databases and filter candidates based on degrees, skills and experience while removing human biases such as gender and race. Additionally, she says that the world is moving into an “attention economy” where grabbing attention will become a leading industry on platforms such as Instagram.

While specialized skills, experience and qualifications will likely always be important in the job market, the emergence of things like creativity, the ability to problem solve and the intangible benefits one brings to a professional community are rapidly changing not only hiring but education as well. The job market is changing – are you?