Skills Gap

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Don’t give up on the English or history degree just yet. Ashley Miller says it may be the ticket to a job in the computer sciences.

LinkedIn recently released their 2018 Emerging Jobs Report. Media responded with headlines like ‘AI skills Reign Supreme.’ This did not come as a surprise to me. As the Director of Innovation for a global management and technology consulting firm, I consult with Fortune 500 clients on how advances in artificial intelligence can improve their businesses.

What caught my attention, but did not create the same media waves, were the largest gaps in skills identified. Specifically, “Oral Communication remains the skill group with the biggest shortage.” People management, time management and leadership were also heavy hitters where employers struggled to find qualified candidates. Even more interesting, people with these skills are reportedly hired at faster rates. However, job seekers don’t value developing and promoting oral communication and leadership skills. To me, that should be the headline.

A liberal arts education, where students learned to understand and communicate history and philosophy was traditionally a core objective of college. But today, students question its value, and enrollment in humanities courses and liberal arts majors is declining. With tuition rising tuition and an unbalanced economic recovery leading to underemployment and debt for many graduates, the appeal of Computer Sciences is understandable.

If you’re looking for a job or planning your career, consider LinkedIn’s findings. A liberal arts foundation combined with in-demand tech skills can enhance your career and earnings prospects. Of course, savviness with Artificial Intelligence will give employees a leg up. And we need a diverse group of coders writing the AI programs of the future to build inclusive technologies without bias. But developing human skills, which cannot be simulated by machines, is equally important.


The next generation of employees will write the code for how decisions will automate, and our world will operate. They need more than technical skills. They need a broad knowledge of history and sociology, critical thinking, communication and leadership skills to be effective. I hope our universities find a way to reconcile these two imperatives.

Our future depends on it!

With a Perspective, I’m Ashley Miller.

Ashley Miller is Director of Innovation for a global management and technology consulting firm.