Think the world is changing quickly? You’re right — and it’s only going to speed up from here. In the next five years, 35 percent of essential workforce skills will change, according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum. That means, no matter where you started out, you’ll need to upskill yourself … or get ready to be left in the dust.
The top job skills you’ll need in the year 2020, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, include:
1. Complex Problem Solving
A perennial No. 1 on many top skills list, complex problem solving means being able to identify issues, seek out information and implement solutions. This skill requires creative intelligence and social aptitude, two factors that make tasks requiring complex problem solving difficult for a robot to do well. If you’re afraid of losing your job to automation one day — and you probably should be — brushing up on your problem-solving skills is a way to differentiate yourself from your robot competition.
2. Critical Thinking
“Critical thinking involves the evaluation of sources such as data, facts, observable phenomenon, and research findings,” writes Alison Doyle at The Balance. “Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information and discriminate between useful and less useful details for solving a problem or making a decision.”
Think of registered nurses, lawyers and plumbers as examples of jobs that require critical-thinking skills. PayScale’s report, Leveling Up: How to Win in the Skills Economy, shows that critical thinking is the top soft skill not found new grads, according to hiring managers. Boost your skills and you could land at the top of the hiring or promotion pile!
PayScale's data show that critical thinking is the top soft skill not found new grads.
Just when you thought that computers had taken away all of our ability to dream and philosophize, creativity rises to the top of the skill set of the future. An interviewer might ask you to show how you’ve demonstrated creative thinking on the job. This might mean finding a creative solution to a problem, coming up with a clever response to a PR crisis, or offering the best ideas for the company holiday party theme (really!).
4. People Management
Not everyone was born a leader. So, how do you get started learning people management skills? One way is to get involved in volunteer leadership positions outside of work. You might try serving on a board in your community, or as the head of a scout troop or coach of a sports team. You’ll learn new skills, support an organization that’s important to you and boost your resume, too.
5. Coordinating With Others
Coordinating with others is about being organized and playing nicely as a team. People who have this skill are adept at working with colleagues to achieve goals. Whether your workplace is agile- or waterfall-based, showing that you can move a project forward to a successful finish is essential. Show that you can work with others toward a goal, and you’ll have plenty to crow about in your next interview or internal review … in the future workplace.
To learn more about the skills employers are looking for right now, see PayScale’s report, Leveling Up: How to Win in the Skills Economy. To get ready for the workplace of tomorrow, check out our Future Work Force report.
Tell Us What You Think
What do you think are the “must have” skills of the future workplace? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.