As the pace of change in the world increases and technology and innovation continue to revolutionise our lives, it goes without saying that well need new skills to navigate a new world. The jobs of tomorrow will differ vastly from the ones we do today, much as the traditional qualifications we have relied on will change.
According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, creativity will be one of the most important skills a person can have in the workplace of the future. It will be crucial in dealing with the new products, technologies and ways of working that the future promises to bring. Though robots will be on hand to do things faster, they dont have the ability to think creatively yet.
Decision-making and negotiating skills capabilities that are highly prized in todays working environment will move down the list of priorities as machines that use large amounts of data will begin to make recommendations and decisions for us. Emotional intelligence, however, will be an important skill to hone again, it is something machines dont have.
Top 10 skills of the future
These are the top skills that will be required in the future, according to chief human resources and strategic officers from global companies:
- Complex problem solving
- Critical thinking
- People management
- Emotional intelligence
- Judgement and decision making
- Service orientation
- Cognitive flexibility
Technology is an important teacher
Social media and global connectivity mean tomorrows workers will use their digital fluency and creative abilities in their everyday jobs. By 2020, concepts such as advanced robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biotechnology and genomics will dramatically change the way we live and work. Some of the jobs that exist today will simply no longer have a place in this environment, while new ones will be created and others will change.
That said, change is also industry dependent. For example, the global media and entertainment industries have undergone drastic changes over the past few years and are continuing to evolve. However, less change has taken place in the financial services and investment sectors. Mobile internet and cloud technology have already exerted a major influence on the way in which we do things. Artificial intelligence, 3D printing and advanced materials (new materials or modifications to existing materials that are used across industries, but have improved qualities)are in the early stages of use, which means the pace of change is more rapid in these environments.
Key work skills and capabilities
In a recent report, the Institute for the Future published the skills it believes will be crucial for the future.
Sense-making skills: this is all about the ability to make connections that create new ideas. Blogger Maria Popova has been credited as making this notion more concrete: In order for us to create and contribute to this world, we have to connect countless dots, cross pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines and combine and recombine these pieces to build new castles.
Social intelligence:building relationships and connecting with people remains a crucial ability, but as we look ahead this is more about asking the right questions than having all the answers. Its an age where the focus is on the individual: no two people have the same goals, nor are they motivated by the same things. Its about personalisation each person is unique and wants to be treated in a unique way, which means we need to learn to connect with people in a deeper and more meaningful way, and develop the skills that enable us to understand the emotions of others and what motivates them, and ultimately take a more human approach to business.
Cross-cultural competencies:No matter where in the world youre working, its a given that you will encounter people of different cultures and beliefs. They key here is to adapt styles of communication, learn empathy and learn to collaborate.
Novel and adaptive thinking:we know the world around us is changing. Its up to each individual to ensure that his or her skills are relevant for the future. Take the initiative in terms of improving your skills, learning and adapting.
Computational thinking:data is the buzzword, which means we need to learn to become more analytical. We need to be able to translate data into insights and understand the meanings, trends and patterns that emerge.
New media literacy:in a world of videos, blogs and podcasts, the way in which we communicate and consume media has already changed dramatically. Youre a digital native, so youll understand that fluency in digital and social media communications is the only way to speak the language of the future.
Trans-disciplinary ability:how does an individual or an organisation stand out from the competition in the workplace of the future? Being a specialist in a certain field wont help you here indeed, most companies will seek generalists to bring in new skills. These include the ability to see things holistically, listen, collaborate, combine ideas and connect the dots.
Design mind-set:this refers to the ideas and attitudes by which you approach a certain situation. The focus of the future will be on human values and people. Empathy is key and this is achieved through conversation, observation or experience. Ultimately, having a design mind-set will be key when it comes to executing projects successfully.
Cognitive load management: we all talk about the information overload were exposed to on a daily basis. This skill is about filtering and managing what is important and what isnt so that you can ignore distractions and tackle priorities.
Virtual collaboration:work is increasingly globalised, which means we need to be able to work as leaders or members of virtual teams. Of course technology helps us in this regard, but working virtually also requires a new set of skills to ensure efficiency in a global, cross-cultural reality.
Of course there is no list on earth that will guarantee complete success at work. However, if there is one crucial point to remember, its that ensuring that the skills you bring to the table are relevant to the environment in which you work it is this that will give you the edge.