empathyGeorge Anders, a writer for Forbes magazine, recently published an article on Linkedin revealing what he projected to be the number one job skill for 2020. In a world where digital technologies have pervaded every aspect of every person on the planet’s lives, you would imagine it to be something like computer skills, digital literacy or technological entrepreneurship. However, it is not any of these things. In fact the most sought after skill will be the complete opposite. It is believed that the most sought after skill will be empathy.

It is exactly because heartless technology is replacing so many jobs, computers replacing people and binary systems stepping in place of emotion or thought that people are latching on to what is being lost. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a list of fast-growing occupations, which will have huge job demands in years to come.

Aside from the expected increases in jobs related to construction and technology, there was a surprisingly significant increase in jobs predicted for nurses, social workers, animal caretakers, preschool and self-enrichment teachers and fitness trainers. These professions are forecasted to experience a 20% increase in employees in the United States by the year 2020. On top of this, there is also currently a huge economic rise in the bar and restaurant sectors. It was Anders who aptly identified the common thread linking such occupations as empathy.

So essentially the key jobs in the future will be those in which one runs technology or does a job that cannot be replaced by technology.

Empathy is a trait that people rely on, crave and simply need in their lives. Face-to-face interaction has and always will be preferred over simply pressing buttons on a screen, talking to a machine or listening to an automator. It is instinct to be close to other humans and to interact with one other.

Although digital technology may be capable of building a car, measuring one’s health or providing endless amounts of information, it is still just a tool. A machine can’t develop a child’s social or emotional capacity, help patients through arduous health recoveries by keeping them in a positive mind frame, it can’t give animal’s love or care and it is incapable of providing inspiring motivation to keep you running when you reach your physical limits.

The more time we spend behind screens or handling machines, the more we appreciate dealing with people who are capable of the golden feeling called empathy. So make use of the areas in which humans are indispensable and don’t develop into a piece of technology that only deals in zeroes and ones. Instead, foster your empathetic side and make the most of being an emotional, sensitive human being.

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