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Want to future-proof your job against AI? Here are the soft skills you need

By Swingers

Is AI coming for your job? Not necessarily. Whatever your sector or professional role, you can future-proof your career against technological innovations by making sure you’ve got the right knowledge, skills and mindsets to set you apart. 

Want to future-proof your job against AI? Here are the soft skills you need

Since the industrial revolution, people have worried about technological innovations threatening their job security. Now, with ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) forming part of everyday conversation, more of us than ever are concerned that new technologies might see us out of a job. A 2023 survey found that more than half of 18-24 year olds are worried about the impact of AI on their careers. 

Whatever your sector or professional role, you can future-proof your career by making sure you’ve got the right knowledge, skills and mindsets to complement AI and set you apart. From critical thinking to collaboration, here are the soft skills to master now so that you can continue to thrive professionally and personally in the years ahead.

A growth mindset

online course

Nothing stands still — which is why it’s vital to learn how to keep learning. Knowing how to “upskill” (updating your skill set throughout your career) means you’ll be able to grow and adapt in the face of constant change. This might mean taking advantage of formal learning opportunities, such as higher education courses or training from a manager or mentor, as well as tapping into ways to keep learning outside the workplace. Whether you want to polish your design skills, get to grips with coding or brush up on leadership strategies, there are loads of free and accessible online courses available to help you. 

It’s not all about learning new skills. It’s also important to practise skills you might not have used in a while and make sure your knowledge is up to date so that you can meet employer needs and take any changes in your stride. 

Critical thinking

point at laptop

The future of work is likely to involve humans and machines working alongside one another to achieve the best possible results. While that might sound like the plot of every bad sci-fi movie, if you’ve ever used ChatGPT to help you map out a strategy or draft a LinkedIn post, you’ve already seen how the right AI tool, used in the right way, can make your day just that little bit easier. However, not every piece of AI-produced work will be high-quality or even accurate — and that’s where your critical thinking skills come in. By learning to question and sense check automated outputs, you’ll make yourself an invaluable colleague (and could potentially avoid some embarrassing mishaps). 



While AI is great at connecting past dots and understanding patterns, it can only work with the information it’s given. On the other hand, human research — especially via probing conversations with real people — can yield something truly original. By honing your research skills, you can learn to fill a vital role that AI currently has no way of replicating and will be able to add something new to the cultural conversation. 



As we just mentioned, AI isn’t generating new insights — it is predicting outcomes. While this can be very helpful and can speed up some tedious, repetitive tasks, it can also lead to a wave of similar, if not identical, suggestions. In practical terms, this means that everyone ends up sounding the same (the Gmail autocomplete function is a good example of this in action).

If you want to stand out, hold onto your own uniqueness, tap into your creativity and try breaking patterns rather than recreating them. This doesn’t mean avoiding AI tools — in fact, some can be a great jumping off point for creative ideas — but instead using them as part of a discovery process, rather than assuming they will do all the work for you. Setting aside time to daydream isn’t just an excuse to procrastinate; it’s a way to make space for your next great idea. 

People skills

people skills

From collaboration to empathy, people skills are essential in any workplace. While AI is becoming increasingly good at displaying human responses and emotions, it can’t replace genuine interactions. By learning to really listen to others and respond accordingly, you will set yourself apart in the workplace.

In a pre-pandemic world, many of us are missing out on what used to be the normal day-to-day office interactions: think having lunch with colleagues, chats over coffee and attending live events. But while it might seem easier to sit behind your laptop, these in-person interactions are an opportunity to make connections, strengthen relationships and spark inspiration in a way that just isn’t possible through AI. Whether you organise a team-building evening at Swingers for some relaxed competitive socialising or schedule a weekly office lunch-and-learn event, make sure you’re carving out regular time to get off Zoom and cultivate your people skills face-to-face.



Having sophisticated technology is all well and good but it won’t lead to tangible business results unless people at all levels know how to make informed, confident and strategic decisions. Whether you’re heading up a project team in a big corporation or are founding your own business, strong leadership skills will be more important than ever in the age of AI. Relevant skills include effective communication, learning how to motivate others, delegation and building trust — all things you can work on no matter what your professional level. 


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