Could colleges be forced to pivot from STEM-focused industrial development?
World Economic Forum projects that by the year 2020, industry will be driven by creativity, analytics and ability to adapt to changing demands.
Though the skills coveted for 2020 do not vary too greatly from those in 2015, there is a shift in priority level. Over the next four years, the value of creativity will skyrocket from 10th to first-most desirable trait in employees, and critical thinking jumps from fourth to second.
- The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will also require a workforce that is well-versed in social adaptation and personnel management.
Over the course of the last decade, government, higher education and industry have worked in concert to spur intellectual and financial growth in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) to keep pace with rapid changes in national defense, consumer technology, supply chain management and public health.
But a new report suggests America’s next industrial revolution will require increasing expertise in human resources and psychology.
Colleges and universities which have invested millions in training the next generation of scientists, engineers, “doers,” will now have to shift focus to produce graduates who can visualize the ways in which productivity and workplace morale combine to set companies, products and services apart from global competition. As technology eliminates jobs, will the traditional liberal arts mission come back into focus? Seemingly, majors like psychology, law, communications and social work reemerge as popular degree options, and may mandate infusion with more specific industrial concentrations in business and technology.
- World Economic Forum The 10 skills you need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution