With technology advancing and the world rapidly changing, it’s only logical that the skill set needed for jobs in the future is, too. While the digital world is growing, soft skills like communication, problem-solving, collaboration and empathy are becoming more valued than tech savviness. With computers doing most of the work that our ancestors did, millennials are ‘dumbing down’ with the simple tasks at hand.
So, what skills will you need to succeed in a professional role in the forthcoming years?
Here are 15 important skills required to be an essential part of the workforce of the future:
1. Complex Problem-Solving
Problem-solving is a skill we should all possess but as the world advances, we’ll be faced with even more difficulties than ever before. In order to find solutions to these problems, you need to have the mental flexibility to think outside the box and see the bigger picture. Start expanding your brain power and tackling a few issues that have been lingering, and you’ll be fully prepared for the future.
2. Critical Thinking
Although we strongly rely on automated technology for some parts of our work, we wouldn’t trust it to make executive decisions for us. You’ll constantly need to be analysing various situations, considering multiple solutions and making decisions through logic and reasoning. In other words, critical thinking will be a key skill in the future workplace when we are needed to tackle major scientific problems.
The workforce has developed because of people’s creativity; robots were only created because a human had the idea in the first place, so they won’t be stealing your job anytime soon! As Cadie Thompson put it: ‘With the onslaught of new technologies, creative people will be in demand to figure out ways to apply the new technology and create new products and services.’
4. People Management
Being able to manage, motivate and delegate people to ensure you get the best results for your business is a very difficult skill, and one that many professionals lack. Moving into the next decade, this trait will be highly sought after, especially in the energy and media industries. Identifying the best people for the job is, therefore, a vital skill to have.
5. Coordinating with Others
Robots and new machinery are great as they allow us to get on with more exciting duties, but the one thing they haven’t mastered is the ability to coordinate with others. In the working world, it’s so important to be able to work with colleagues and adjust according to their actions; essentially, being a strong team player is something that will carry through to the next generation.
6. Emotional Intelligence
Being able to adapt to other people’s feelings and surroundings is an important skill to have. It’s the ability to manage behaviour, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Making vital connections in the workplace and having the intelligence to handle different personalities will still be desirable in the future.
7. Judgement and Decision-Making
Every business strategy today is based on the analysis of data. Having the capability to study said data and make strong decisions are going to be even more desirable in years to come. There are heaps of tools to help you decipher and understand these numbers, so don’t panic if you haven’t mastered the skill yet; use online devices to help you advance in these areas.
8. Service Orientation
Having strong service orientation skills – or actively looking for ways to help people – is all about focusing on consumers and anticipating what their future needs will be. In other words, you need to think about what the customer will need and create solutions to their problems.
With robots infiltrating the workplace, social skills will be more important than ever. Negotiating is something that only us humans do – and do well! Some occupations, though, have allowed introverts to climb into their shell and step away from these interpersonal skills. However, even people in technical jobs will be expected to negotiate with clients, colleagues and managers.
10. Cognitive Flexibility
Cognitive flexibility is the knack of being able to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. In today’s fast-paced world, we are used to juggling a number of jobs and multitasking. Yet, according to The Future of Jobs, a report by the World Economic Forum which surveyed over 350 executives around the world, a higher level of cognitive abilities will be required for a wide range of jobs – this includes creativity, problem sensitivity and logical reasoning.
In the past, adaptability wasn’t such a vital trait of an employee, as software and structures pretty much stayed the same. In today’s workforce, however, being able to adapt to new situations, programs and even people is incredibly important. As a nation, we are constantly trying to evolve and outdo what we previously did. Word of advice: don’t get stuck in your ways, because procedures will quickly change!
12. Initiative and Entrepreneurship
Thinking outside the box and coming up with fresh concepts and designs is a skill that will secure you a job in the next decade. You have to possess the quality to think on your own two feet and have the ability to run your own project, department or even business. If you want to climb the career ladder, don’t settle on one thing; continue to expand your mind by exploring different avenues.
13. Social Intelligence
Social intelligence refers to your ability to connect with others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions, as well as desired interactions. This has much to do with your communication with the people you choose to converse with. Essentially, having great social skills can set you on the road to success.
14. New Media Literacy
In the past, the word ‘literacy’ was frequently used as the ability to read and write. While it remains a commonly used term today, it seems that media literacy has taken its place. This type of skill is considered to be essential for the 21st Century workforce and refers to the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create media – or, simply put, content that can communicate to an audience through persuasion.
15. Virtual Collaboration
This is the method of collaboration between virtual team members and carried out via technology-mediated communication. It is increasingly being used by businesses as it has a great potential in allowing people from different locations to work together. In the future, most meetings and discussions will be carried out through online devices, driving engagement and increasing productivity.
Without these critical skills, you will have a hard time fitting in the future workplace. Not only should they help you be more efficient but they will also give you the added push to reach your career goals.
Do you think you have what it takes to survive in the future workplace? Let me know in the comments section below…
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive guide to professional skills!