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New work, digitization and competence measurement: self-portrayal?

New skills are required in the digital world. But how do you determine these skills without falling for self-portrayals?


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When we talk about competence-based work, many people think of Gunter Dueck, a former IBM manager and mathematician.Professor, who caused a stir with his speech at the re: publia 2011. According to his prognosis, many occupations will lose their importance because thanks to the internet we can do much more on our own - such as buying tickets or researching information.

Even today, said Dueck a little sarcastically, many a patient who has surfed the Internet for two hours knows more than his doctor. What remains are the difficult advisory and administrative tasks for which Germany needs more skilled workers, but complex tasks not only require specialist skills - a large part of this is provided by the Internet - but also social fluency, emotional intelligence, management talent, negotiating skills and personal responsibility , Entrepreneurship.

Creativity is seen as a disease

In a meeting of the inquiry commission of the German Bundestag “Internet and digital society” on the subject of “Change processes in the digital economy and working world”, Dueck criticized the fact that creativity is viewed as a disease in schools.

Moreover, the teaching of social competence is not part of the education system. According to Dueck, pure technical training loses importance and soft skills are becoming more and more important. He even goes so far as to say that only those who bring the corresponding soft skills and adaptability to modern, digital society will do it.

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The Prekariat falls down

This brings us to the disadvantages of purely competence-based work: there are not a few people who fall behind, the so-called precariat. It is often forgotten that this type of work often leads to insecure, poorly paid jobs.

Among other things, I discussed with Ursula Engelen-Kefer in a panel of experts about competence-based work at the New Responsibility Foundation in Berlin. Also there was Dr. Stefan Pfisterer from BITKOM. He cited the United States for comparison, where there is a demand for skills that can be used in the short term, which undoubtedly offers opportunities, but also means that there is no long-term investment in an employee.

Not everyone likes the self-presentation

Sustainable development, the competence bundle behind a profession, is not seen there. A fundamental rejection of professions towards purely competence-based work is therefore not desirable, according to Pfisterer.

I have often experienced another reason in my personal environment: not everyone is made for this free, independent entrepreneurial work. Here is a current example by Julia Seeliger, former TAZ editor, former FAZ author, former member of the Greens, today managing director of the Pirate Party Bonn, who wrote in a post that has now been deleted:

Self-marketing to the last?

“Hello, my name is Julia Seeliger, I am 33 years old and have no job. For more than a year I tried web design and journalism on my own and it didn't work. I can't work like this for different reasons. First of all, because I never wanted to work like this, secondly, because I can't work alone, and lastly, because I can't and don't want to market myself down to the smallest detail. ”

In doing so, she addresses a problem that results from competence-based work: The constant need to market yourself - and the question of whether that is desirable. I remember an event in Berlin where PR consultant Facebook called the end of humility.

11.000 euros per Facebook-Like?

Some time ago, the international Bad Honnef / Bonn University of Applied Sciences started an action worth discussing. As part of a competition, a full grant of 11.000 euros was awarded for distance learning. The participants collect “Votes” by sending friends, family and acquaintances via Facebook, eMail or invite a contact list and ask to vote for it. The IUBH clearly declares the ability to self-market as the goal of the competition.

A further danger of self-marketing in the smallest detail is that the boundaries between work and private life are becoming increasingly blurred. Friends on- and offline are also colleagues, one is, if one is not careful, around the clock in the employment, and the high personal identification with the job entails the danger of overwork and burnout. With these dangers it is important to learn how to deal.

The company can not deal with the new work

In addition, however, Annuity insurance plans by Ursula von der Leyenhow little the legislature and society know how to deal with these new forms of work. This leads to absurd situations in social security - for example because health and pension insurance for the self-employed are not calculated on the basis of actual income, but rather according to certain, unjust minimum rates.

And this is precisely the reason for the structure of our (educational) landscape, whose certificates and certificates are still directed to the search for knowledge rather than the transfer of basic skills.

The Solution: Competence Measurement with Large-Scale Assessments?

The problem is so said Dr. Agnes Dietzen from the Competence Development Department of the Federal Institute for Vocational Training states that the development of reliable methods for measuring competence (term: Large-Scale Assessments or LSA) is still in its infancy. A major problem is the lack of comparability of skills acquired in different education systems such as higher education or vocational training.

In addition, services from other areas such as honorary offices, social services or family care services should be included in the competence assessment, said Dietzen, but at the same time made it clear that much remains to be done, as the lack of valid, objective and practicable standards has made it difficult Comparison.

Actively shaping change

In Germany, work is currently very slow to implement a qualifications framework on the recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council to establish the European qualifications framework. Dietzen also sees one reason for the lack of permeability for various professions in professional interests. "We think too much in small categories and should think more in professional families," said Dietzen.

In essence, I believe that flexible working forms, as we already know from the digital field, will also extend to other areas. There is nothing to keep in old ideas; one has to deal with this change in the working world and actively shape it, so as not to end up negatively in the end. However, one should also see the disadvantages of this new form of work and counteract them as much as possible.

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