How does education prepare workers for the digital economy?
How do individuals keep up with the pace of change? How will firms remain competitive? The answer to all three of these questions requires careful examination of the skills and attributes needed by all workforce participants. Focusing on STEM skills is not enough. Every employee, whether technical or not, needs a set of essential non-technical skills to thrive in today's digitally-powered organizations. The Human Skills Matrix (HSX) captures these nontechnical skills that make rapid learning and adaptability possible across all industries.
What is the Human Skills Matrix?
“There is so much variation in what people call these skills: social skills, soft skills, power skills, transverse skills, etc. And there’s even more variation in the skills that these frameworks highlight. That’s why we undertook this effort—to identify and structure a set of human skills that we can believe in, and that others might find useful.”
- George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist
Digital and technical skills are critical to emerging jobs and industries, but it is the uniquely human skills that will be immune from machine replacement for the longest and will ensure individuals can thrive in the new economy. The matrix has four quadrants for self-management and external behaviors. The digital economy will require firms and individuals to change more rapidly than ever before in history to keep up with changing demands of business and technology.
About the Human Skills Matrix
The digital economy will require firms and individuals to change more rapidly than ever before in history to keep up with changing demands of business and technology. This is a workforce and public policy priority, but also the responsibility of higher education and employers. The Human Skills Matrix quantifies the critical skills and attributes that individuals will need in the rapidly changing workplace of the future. While digital skills and expertise will continue to play a big role in a variety of occupations and industries, it is the non-technical skills and attributes, which will be immune from machine replacement for the longest and will equip humans to thrive.
Through a rigorous and exhaustive process, the Jameel World Education Lab has developed a best-of-breed model for understanding the soft skills that will be key to workplace success in a world of increasing automation. By examining 41 existing frameworks from across multiple sectors—including human resources firms, educational institutions, education-corporate research partnerships, and labor organizations—MIT researchers were able to identify the most sought-after skills across all. This list was then reviewed and ranked by a panel of experts drawn from the human resources, post-secondary education, workforce and public policy, and research fields. The resulting 24 top skills have been further organized into a matrix of categories focused on 1) how we think, 2) how we manage ourselves, 3) how we interact, and 4) how we lead.