Prominent Skills for Students in Facing Industry 4.0

Arifsa Fahri Shidqi
Universitas Islam Indonesia - Indonesia

Industry 4.0 has immensely influenced the educational system in this era. By the advent of new technologies in the industry 4.0 including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligenc (AI), and Big data has contributed to the learning process in educational institution. Technologies has ease and break barriers of the learning process. However, on the other side human employment are starting to diminish as works are being automated by robots. This creates a challenge for educational institution to prepare their graduates with necessary skills to cope with the challenges. Inevitably, educational institution must continually adapt to the changes in response. This paper explores prominent skills required to cope with the challenges brought by industry 4.0 based on literature review and interviews by experts. The prominent skills are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with people, emotional intelligence, decision making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. Educational institutions should emphasis on honing these skills through activities that triggers the skills. However, allocation of time, effort, and money should be considered.

Key words: Industry 4.0, skills, creativity


The invention of the industrial revolution had a great impact until today. The first industrial revolution began in the late 18th century with the advent of mechanical machines. The second industrial revolution began in the early 20th century with the electricity and mass production. The third industrial revolution began in early 1970s with the introduction of electronics and information technology. This was the early starting point of automation of manufacturing process and programmed machines to take the production responsibilities or known as the forth industrial revolution [1]. By entering the era of industry 4.0 many challenges and opportunities rises for industries. Companies must catch up with the new technologies to improve quality efficiency, and effectiveness of resources to remain competitive in the market. Challenges for companies include introducing new products/services, innovation, and business models [1]. Further research on the implementation of industry 4.0 should be presented. A broad spectrum of innovations in the areas of information technology manufacturing technology, the future relevant themes include dealing with complexity,capacity for innovation, and flexibility [13].

A lot of smart devices are emerging and integrating creating a new environment where data can be analyzed to continuously improve. As the technologies are gradually improving, contributing a lot in solving many complex isses that were never solved before. Despite of all the benefits that the technologies have gave us it has gave us many challenges as well. These technologies that have automated many works had replaced what is used to be human work with machines.

A report published by two economists from MIT and Boston University regarding the US national Bureau of Economic Research analyzed the cost of exchanging human labour with programmed machines in areas including manufacture, research and development, and education. The study shows that each additional robot can reduce employment by 5.6 workers and for every 1000 workers, one robot could reduce wages by between one-quarter and one half of a percent [15]. According to a report by Mckinsey Institue described that aroud 375 million jobs world wide will vanish by 2030. However, as some of the jobs starts to vanish some new jobs are starting to emerge.

Therefore, it is cruital for educational institution to support their graduate to cope the challenges. With the transistion of the new environment, graduates must adapt with the neccessary skills. Accoding to the Future of Jobs released by World Economic Forum, the top ten skills required by 2020 include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligecnce, judgment and decision making, service oreintation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility.


Prominent Skills and How to Achieve them

Industry 4.0 has a huge impact on the way people live nowadays. It is the era of the digitization of the manufacturing sector, with embedded sensors in virtually all products components and manufacturing equipment, cyber-physical systems everywhere, and the advance analysis of almost all relevant data [14]. It has gave a great opportunities for countries to acelerate industrialization and modernization. The changes brought by the new technologies has created a new environment which is more advanced. A lot of things are affected with the advancement including the education system. There are three factors that are affecting the higher education organization’s operation namely human resource quality, macro environment change, and technology capabilities [3].

Human resource quality is important due to the development of the company. The employee within the company are becoming more dynamic and contiuously growing to become better. It is important to create the best work ethics of the employees and create a better working environment. Macro environment change refers to the condition in the economy as a whole. This includes inflation, employment, trends in gross domestic product (GDP) and fiscal policy. Technology capability has impacted to the society to  expect instant resuts. By the advent of internet of things (IoT) allowing smart technological devices to transfer information and furtherly performing profound analysis to sustainably improve its system. Technology will continue to evolve and will have an impact on the customer habit and expectation [3].

The implementation of industry 4.0 can be identifed to 5 dimension i.e. industrial policy dimension, employment political dimension, data security, middle class company’s policy dimension, and the reulatory dimension. In the employment political dimension, which focusses on the development of high-skilled jobs [2]. The human resources quality has exponentially increased and become more competitive. This creates a challenge for educational institution to prepare their graduate to cope with the changes and challenges.

The students in this era have grown up in a fast paced digital environment where the teaching invloves a balance of the objective of the teacher with the needs and input of the students. The education system focuses on globalization and internalization. Any advancement of technology presents theoretical constructs and realistic insights in the development and enhancement of knowledge, skills, and attitudes among students and teachers [5]. These advancement of technology have the high tendency of replacing human works by robot. The works that are most likely being replaced involves repetitive activities. Therefore, people should develop skills such as creativity, experimenting, situational assessment, design, organization and reengineering [2].

A new learning environment is created due to the shift of the era, where an extensive range of collaboration is possible like never before. Social networking are used in a variety of way not only for entertainment but also learning process to develop critical thinking and metacognitive skills and the ability to integrate and evaluate real world scenario are required for the smart social networking. Therefore, educational institution must adapt quickly in response. Honing the skills required to cope to the challenges is important for educational institutions. Accoding to the Future of Jobs released by World Economic Forum reported that there are top ten skills required by 2020.

The prominent skills to cope with the challenges of indsutry 4.0 in this paper are composed by literature review and interview with experts. The literature review are accumulated from previous research selecting topics pertaining to education, skills, and industry 4.0. The interviewees are two experts, a professional consultant and a practitioner in this field. The result of the literature review is reviewed by the experts regarding the prominent skills required to face industry 4.0, how to hone the skill, and the challenges of implementing as follows,

  1. Complex problem Solving

The ability to solve problems by identifying, selecting relevant information, give options toward the solution, evaluate and execute the option as the solution to the problem. Having strong complex problem solving skills is about being able to visualise the big picture, and improve things to make a difference. This skill can only be developed it is not the kind of skill that anyone is born with. Complex problem solving can be honed by conducting internships through direct observation students can encounter real problems in the field and have a picture on what they are going to face in the future. In addition, a research found that problem solving skill can be improved by playing a lot of video games especially fast paced games. Games can be a powerful tools to improve attention, mood, cognitive strengths, and relationships [15].

2. Critical Thinking

Ability to think critically and advocate logical feedback. Critical thinking involves logic and reasoning. Solving problem, consider a variety of solutions by using logic and reasoning. Studies suggest that critical thinking can help deal with mental and spiritual questions, it can be used to assess people, policies, and institutions. Active/ cooperative learning is an effective approach to encourge critical thinking.  Instead of just listening, active learning involves dialog, debate, writing, and problem solving such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The encouragement of critical thinking can be accomplished by modification of lectures and incorporate it with simple active learning techniqes [7]. Educational institutions should encourage students on conducting small researches which will trigger their critical thinking.

3. Creativity

Ability to explore something uniqe and authentic. Doesnt have to be 100% new but also include developing the existing one. With the advent of new technologies, and new ways of working people  must be more creative in order to benefit from the changes. Creativity involves creating something new from connecting related information from disparate information. The issue with creative process is its inherent non-process nature. There is no one exact formula to creatively problem solving something. However by exercising curiosity and self expression on a regular basis can unleash the creativity within a person. Educational institution should encourgae students to join innovation competitions and should be supported by providing adequate mentoring.

4. People Management

Ability to manage, also called as leadership. The success of an entity is mostly driven by the people within the entity.  Managing people and harnessing their creativity is vital for managers or leaders to understand how to motivate their teams, maximise their productivity, and developing the best management style. Honing leadership skills requires a lot of experience and practice. Leadership management training can improve leadership skill by understanding how to engage and focusing on developing teams that are empowered, confident, enthusiastic, and inspired [8]. This skill can be honed by joining organizations and outdoor activities such as outbound.

5. Coordinating with people

Ability to work with others both inside and outside of the team. Collaboration is important in any work environment. Coordinating with others involves strong communication skills, being able to work at various conditions, and having an awareness of other people strengths and weaknesses. This skill can be honed by having activities that involve team work. Engaging in organization can trigger this skill.

6. Emotional intelligence

Ability to identify, assess, and manage one’s emotions. Emotional intelligence is an intangible thing that support us fit into the human emotions and measure our capability in adjusting our behaviour depending on the mood. Building and maintaining relationsihps is inherently human and requires an emotional perspective. Moreover, decisions worth making often generate conflict, and the ability to manage the conflict involves an emotional intelligence skill that can determine the success of the decision making process [9]. Emotional intelligence can be learned as emotional intelligence is shown to increase with age. The development of emotional intelligence contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organization by moderating conflict, fostering stability, continuity, and harmony [10]. This skill can be honed by facing challenges that are most likely to be feared the most. Public speaking is a good practice to improve emotional intelligence.

7. Judgment and decision making

Ability to make decisions in any conditions, especially under pressure. In the era of industry 4.0 with the emerging IoT devices produces an immense amount of data, how to obtain insights and use big data to draw business strategy and decisions. In order to improve decision making skill we must understand the fundamentals of data mining and data processing. Find what kind of issue to tackle, then explore new data tools and technologies that is used ot collect this informaiton. This skill can be honed by actively involving in organization and conducting small researches in campus.

8. Service Orientation

The ability to look for ways ot help people. Taking good care of consumer and anticipating their needs in the future is a good service oreitation skill. Business will need to become more adaptive for product offerings and become more knowledgeable in the process involved in meeting customer demands. Service orientation involves understanding the users mind and what they like and dislike to develop new producst or adapt service. A good client service is related to organizations leadership creating culture of innovation, trust, collegiality, empowerment and appropriate risk taking. Effective communication and human resources practices including the rectruitment of employees with a client service mindset training and mentoring are key drivers for organizational culture [12]. Involving in social organization is a good way to hone this skill.

9. Negotiation

Ability to negotiate in terms of jobs. Social skill will be more important in the future due to the increasing number of job automation replacing human work with robot. Negotiation is descibed as a way to resolve conflicts or disagreements among two or more parties. Negotiation excercises can develop a set of life skills which can be employed in many business and personal situations. The skills developed through practicing negotiation skills develop critical thinking skill and improve communication skills [11]. Public speaking is a good practice to hone this skill because it learns how to persuade people negotiate. In addition, debating is also a good practice.

10. Cognitive Flexibility

Ability to switch or transfer in thinking according to the needs needed. Cognitive flexibility is about how quickly you can process different systems of thoughts. The more flexible you are, the easier it becomes to see new patterns and create association beween ideas. This can be trained by learning new things, or learning new ways of thinking. Conducting research also can help to hone this skill. Students should participate in research activities with lecturers.

Education institution should emphasis on developing skills in order to hone the prominent skills. Additionally, educational institution should integrate multimedia to support the learning process. However, some of the challenges in implementing include allocation of time, effort and money to conduct those activities.



Entering the fourth era of industrialization or industry 4.0 has shifted many things including educational system. The changes brought by the advancement of technology has created a new environment and new challenges for educational institutions. Educational institutions must cope the challenges and adapt quickly in response. There are 10 prominent skill that are more likely required in facing the fourth industrial revolution i.e. complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with people, emotional intelligence, decision making, service orietation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. Some transformation for educational institution to adapt include emphasising on developing skills. Integrating interdisciplinary training can develop skills and knowledge through activities such as engaging in organizations, conducting small researches, involve in competitions, public speakings, and outdoor activities. Lectures should incorporate active learning including dialog, debate, and presentations. Moreover, integrating media literacy into educational program can support the learning process. The challenges in implementing the activities that should be considered include allocation of time, effort, and money. Further research can be conducted to develop the framework of activities in the curriculum to develop the prominent skills.






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