Malcolm Graham
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The one skill you need in today’s jobs market…

People are still more important than automation in 2015

Everett Collection
C-3P0 wasn’t always known for his tact or diplomacy.

American companies are rewarding people who have one special quality.

Jobs like computer research scientists are in higher demand than the average rate of job growth, government figures show, but that’s also because they are among the math- and computer-centric jobs that also require polished social skills, according to a new study by David Deming, an associate professor of education and education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, private and nonpartisan research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

“The slow growth of high-paying jobs in the U.S. since 2000 and rapid advances in computer technology have sparked fears that human labor will eventually be rendered obsolete,” he writes. The latest example: A machine that claims to bethe world’s first laundry-folding robot, which aims to liberate users from 375 days of this particular chore over the course of a lifetime. But he concludes, “The labor market increasingly rewards social skills.”

Deming found that jobs requiring high social skills are outpacing those jobs requiring low social skills, regardless of whether they require people with high/low knowledge of math.He analyzed jobs that required math and social skills among the Occupational Information Network, a nationally representative survey on job tasks administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, and cross-referenced these with job growth from the U.S. Census.