- A college degree at an elite school may not push your career forward in the generative AI era.
- Soft skills will be crucial as AI enters the workforce, according to a LinkedIn vice president.
- AI can be used to boost productivity and improve communication, he said on a podcast.
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Getting a bachelor’s degree at an Ivy League school may not be what helps you get ahead in your career anymore — at least according to Aneesh Raman, a vice president at LinkedIn.
Soft skills like communication, creativity, and flexibility, the Harvard graduate predicts, will instead be what set employees apart in the workforce in the age of AI.
“Over the past few decades, because of the internet age, when we think about workforce development, so much effort has been, understandably, on technical skills, computer science degrees, coding boot camps, educated and credentialed—technical skills,” Raman said on a recent episode of Microsoft’s podcast WorkLab.
But now, “the shelf life of a degree is shrinking pretty dramatically.”
Today’s key soft skill, according to the LinkedIn exec, is adaptability. As generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT enter the workplace, employees will need to be able to continuously learn how to use such tools as the technology evolves.
“Adaptability is the best way to have agency right now,” he said.
Still, it may take some time for companies to kick the impulse to hire workers based on where they graduated from rather than what skills they can offer.
“It’s not as easy to filter for skills as you filter for degrees.”
Using AI at work won’t just help workers be more productive. It can help also workers communicate across cultures, languages and sectors more effectively — and with greater empathy, he said.
“All of these barriers have existed for some time now that make it really difficult to talk human to human,” Raman commented. AI will help break them down in real time, leading to “higher-quality conversations and more meaningful collaborations.”
LinkedIn didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment before publication on Raman’s behalf.
Raman’s thoughts on changing priorities in the workforce come as employers face the challenge of how to integrate AI across their businesses. Forty four percent of US executives surveyed by LinkedIn in June reported that they plan to use AI at their organizations more in the next year.
That may be driving companies to hire AI talent. A separate LinkedIn study from August found that the number of job postings mentioning ChatGPT or GPT, the AI’s large language model, on the job site has grown 21-fold since the chatbot was released last year. Tech titans like Meta, Netflix, and Amazon are paying salaries as high as $900,000 to bring in the best generative AI talent. Non-tech companies across law, entertainment, and healthcare are also on the hunt for workers who know how to use AI.
Further education may not be totally obsolete, though. Some college degrees could actually help with the soft skills that may prevent workers from being replaced by AI.
“I think the humanities will have a bit of a renaissance,” Raman said.