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“The watchword of the new era will be adaptability.” That’s what the co-author of a McKinsey Global Institute paper on job skills, Eric Hazan, says about the future in a recent interview.

If you are a member of the workforce, this means adaptability needs to be YOUR watchword.

‘SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST’ IN THE WORKPLACE

Have you ever heard the expression that something is “slower than evolution?” In nature, the process of natural selection – survival of the fittest – take thousands of generations and hundreds of years. A species slowly adapts to the point where it can survive in its environment. In today’s workplace, survival of the fittest depends on a person’s ability to adapt and learn new skills quickly to keep up with rapid-fire change.

Between now and 2030, employers’ needs for physical and manual skills will drop by 11 percent. The need for cognitive skills that are merely at a basic level will drop by 14 percent.

At the same time, demand for technological skills will rise by 55 percent. Demand for social and emotional skills will rise by 24 percent. And the need for higher-level cognitive skills will increase by 9 percent.

SALES SKILLS ARE HOT SKILLS

All three of these in-demand skills are practiced in the role of sales professional. It’s a role that requires a combination of social ability, business acumen, curiosity and technical expertise. This makes the sales profession especially relevant to the discussion of future survival in the workplace.

Automation, particularly Artificial Intelligence – AI – is a serious threat to lower-skilled workers. Artificial Intelligence means computers are taking over tasks that previously required human intelligence. Computers are performing more and more functions that used to require living, breathing people. It doesn’t matter that a bundle of hardware and software might not perform quite as well as people did. Computers can do the work adequately enough for companies to justify automating those roles to save payroll dollars.

WOULD YOU BUY A CAR FROM SIRI?

But not the role of professional consultative sales. Try to imagine a computerized voice convincing you to make a major buying decision. You’re literally not going to buy it.

Understanding human emotions and motivation is another skill required of sales professionals that computers can’t replicate, and hopefully never will.

A current human resources trend is to help people understand and increase their Emotional Intelligence, or EI.  This is the ability to monitor our own and other people’s emotions, to identify different emotions, and to use this information to guide our thinking and behavior. When people understand each other better, companies can build more effective teams. In turn, teams can help companies meet the needs of the marketplace more successfully.

SALES: A WINNING CAREER OPTION

Given this forecast for the future, sales is a winning option for those who are contemplating a career choice or career change:

  • It requires social skills that will be in demand despite the encroachment of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Those who work in sales continually stretch their critical thinking and cognitive skills.
  • Sales professionals have the opportunity to learn new technologies and expand their digital and social media skills by using a range of platforms and systems in their jobs.

STEP INTO THE FUTURE WITH PROFESSIONAL SALES TRAINING

The Virtanza Sales Training and Certification course helps people turn their natural skills into professional sales careers in industries like healthcare, technology, insurance, media, business services, manufacturing and more through a five-week online sales training, certification and job placement program.

The program includes interactive webinars, Microsoft Office software technology training, skills to build personal and social branding, job-matching assessment technology, interview techniques, resume and cover letter writing as well as networking support, certification and job placement. Learn more at www.virtanza.com or call toll free to 888-311-1265.

Author Ibby Vores, SHRM-SCP, is part of the supportive team of instructors at Virtanza. She’s a senior certified HR professional recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. Ibby teaches resume writing and cover letter skills. She also coaches Virtanza graduates on interpersonal effectiveness for successful job interviews.