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Written by Kieran Delamont, Associate Editor, London Inc.


More than just semantics

Skills are no longer soft or hard they’re durable or perishable

A LOT HAS been said about the recent rise in skills-based hiring and career development, where workers (often those in technical fields) are seeing more career growth from developing skills rather than pursuing credentials.


One popular concept has been the distinction between hard and soft skills ― the former referring to technical skills like coding, the latter referring to broader, people-based skills like communication.


Many HR experts and career coaches might suggest thinking about skills differently ― as “durable” and “perishable,” as opposed to hard and soft.


“A skill is durable if its half-life is above five years, that’s my mark,” CEO of Workera, Kian Katanforoosh, told Charter recently. “Communication, for example, is above five years. AI is moving so fast that if you are lacking durable skills, you will not be able to learn the next perishable skill that is going to appear.”


“The terminology shift to ‘durable skills’ is not just semantics,” added InStride. “It speaks to one of the strongest values of soft skills: their ability to stay relevant long term.”


Does the terminology matter? For organizations that are doing technical hiring ― such as those in the rapidly changing AI world ― It has been said that we are transitioning towards a skills-based economy. More than three quarters of companies report skills gaps of one form or another, according to a 2023 McKinsey report.


“There’s a growing need for companies to prioritize developing talent from within, rather than solely relying on hiring to fill job openings.” InStride said. “Perishable skills quickly become obsolete, and many organizations don’t have the proper employee learning and development strategy in place to keep up with the rate of change.”


For business leaders, durable and perishable may offer a better way to think about tapping the growth potential of your existing workforce.


“When we over-index perishable skills, we handicap our employees from the agility and range they need to respond to an increasingly volatile world,” wrote Ashley St. John. “This organic model represents a different way of thinking about skill development, one that encourages us to develop skills with an eye for their durability, their transferability and the relevance for roles that our organizations may need to fill years into the future.” 


Well-paid, well-rested. Uncovering the sleep divide

It seems that in the corporate world, the higher you climb the ladder, the better you sleep

IF YOU’RE TRUDGING into the office, second or third morning coffee in hand, bags under your eyes, and wondering why your boss (or your boss’ boss) seem so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on a workday morning, a new survey will help explain it: they are probably getting more sleep than you.


Expert Reviews and YouGov released a sleep survey last month that asked different professionals whether they felt they were getting enough sleep, and the results were pretty much as expected: as you rise through the ranks of director to executive to chairperson, your sleep satisfaction increases.


Seventy-seven per cent of CEOs felt they got enough sleep, eclipsed only by board chairs ― 100 per cent of whom said they got enough sleep. On the lower end of the org chart, only 40 per cent of managers said the same, just beating out the 38 per cent of the rank and file who feel they are sleeping enough. Similarly, half of all CEOs reported napping “fairly often,” while only 9 per cent of managers could say the same.


“Our data suggests that as management responsibility increases, there’s a higher likelihood of reporting sufficient sleep,” said Monica Horridge, editor of the survey. “Our second theory is that those with more senior roles have worked for longer and, therefore, have more experience and knowledge on how sleep impacts work performance. This could be why they prioritize sleep, allowing them to sleep more.”


Research has consistently shown that sleep and productivity go hand in hand. Sleep experts say it is a foundational aspect of warding off burnout and maintaining your productivity long-term. “Most people don’t have sleep disorders,” Dr. Rafael Pelayo told Fortune, “they just have lifestyles that don’t give them enough hours of sleep.”


But you know who’s not sleeping? Business owners. Only 45 per cent of owners report getting enough sleep, and only 10 per cent of them say they nap often. So next time the owner of the company comes around, maybe hand them a cup of coffee. You’ll look generous ― and statistically it sounds like they really could use it. 

Terry Talks: Why adaptation has become the must-have skill in the new era of work

In today’s rapidly evolving world, embracing change is vital to success. As industries, technologies and skills continue to shift, you need to adapt and grow to stay ahead. By cultivating adaptability, you can navigate through uncertain times and seize new opportunities that arise in both your professional life.



The side-hustle surge

The number of small businesses started by founders who already have a job has doubled as more people look to carve a slice of the entrepreneurial dream

WE’VE BEEN LIVING in the age of the ‘side hustle’ now for many years. Freelancers, those with nine-to-fives, even business owners have, for the last decade or so, been enamoured with the side hustle.


And now, stats show that all this side hustling is starting to result in more entrepreneurship. According to payroll company Gusto, data showed that 44 per cent of all new business owners launched that business while working a part- or full-time job last year, up from 27 per cent in 2022.


“While fascination with side hustles specifically has been growing steadily for years, search interest accelerated during the pandemic as inflation surged and household budgets were strained,” wrote Bloomberg’s Jo Constantz. “[And] the continued prevalence of remote and hybrid work has given people more time and flexibility to test out their ventures while still fulfilling their primary job obligations.”


Gusto’s economists see the growth of new businesses started as side hustles (as opposed to jumping directly into full-time) as a particular response to economic conditions. “Uncertainty around which way the economy’s going made people a little skittish to give up something they’ve got in order to go for something they want,” said Gusto economist Liz Wilke.


Wilke writes that it is an encouraging trend to see higher levels of entrepreneurship, after a period in the late 2010s when it seemed to have leveled off. “The pandemic turned that trend on its head, and the rising tide of entrepreneurship shows no signs of reversing,” she wrote. “These new businesses are powering the economy, which means that how the economy looks tomorrow will depend on how we support these entrepreneurs today.” 


Canada’s big AI bet

Ottawa is betting billions in AI funding to help quicken adoption and commercialization. Tech experts arent so sure

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ONE OF THE headline investments announced as part of last week’s federal budget was a $2.4 billion item earmarked for AI-related investments, something the government sees as a strategic battleground in the years to come.

“Many Canadians are already feeling the benefits of using AI to work smarter and faster,” reads a statement from the prime minister’s office. “The rapid advance of generative AI today will unlock immense economic potential for Canada, significantly improving productivity and reducing the time workers have to spend on repetitive tasks.”


What, exactly, are we investing in? Most of that money, $2 billion, is going to go to technical infrastructure ― servers, connectivity and so on. There’s also money to speed the uptake of AI in key sectors like agriculture, and money sprinkled around things like AI safety institutes.


One area that they also want to focus this investment on is small business adoption, though it isn’t all that clear on what it means by that. “This is a less-observed aspect of this announcement in the press, but its impact is significant,” wrote Matthew Bourne of London-based Info-Tech Research Group. “These investments are also intended to help Canadian businesses accelerate transitioning to an economy where productivity and collective improvements in Canadian standards of living will trickle down.”


Others have questions. “Canada has tried this type of trickle-down AI strategy before. We have for decades been investing in AI research, and it was Canadian public dollars that led to breakthrough technologies,” wrote Joel Blit in the Globe and Mail. But, “the commercial benefits from these investments largely accrued outside of Canada. Among the leading AI companies, few, if any, are Canadian.”


Might it be a case of throwing money blindly at an industry? Some tech folks might agree. Or it could be an important investment direction for the development of the AI sector.


 “Through a tech lens, a one-time funding announcement won’t magically make Canada an AI superpower,” wrote London’s Carmi Levy. “Simply throwing money at emerging tech is insufficient. We’ll need structures, people, training, and organizational rework to ensure that the departments that receive the money are equipped to invest and manage it wisely.” 


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