As you might’ve previously read, Consulting Partner Amanda McIntyre holds an impressive set of career experiences. Even so, she acknowledges that she too is facing an ever changing (and somewhat volatile) future work environment. Her key to staying relevant and employable? Continuously updating your skill set to suit future work needs.
“Like everyone, I face a future career in which the nature of work will change significantly. It’s important to understand the key skills employees in both the private and public sectors will need in the future… If we are to succeed in our future careers, we need to ensure we are equipped with the skills that will be valuable.”
But before we can do this, it’s vital to understand what major influences are actively shaping the future of work. According to the World Economic Forum, these include changing demographics, global economic power, rapid urbanisation, resource scarcity, and technological breakthroughs.
In relation to the professional services industry, of these influences technology is having the greatest impact having triggered an avalanche of new ways of working. How this has affected valued skill sets? We’ve experienced a shift away from skills like active listening and rapid data consumption, and towards things technology can’t provide (yet) like emotional intelligence and creativity.
“Overall, social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others – will be in higher demand rather than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.”
In essence, while technical skills will continue to lay the foundation for a strong career, to achieve career longevity and fulfillment – something of increasing value for people globally – you will need to supplement specialised capabilities with strong social, creative and collaboration skills.
With Amanda’s informed insights, let’s take a deeper look into the top ten skills the World Economic Forum have identified to be of increasing value to future workplaces…
Creativity – Creativity is predicted to become a key desired skill in the future. Before you say – but I’m not a ‘creative’ person, remember that creativity is not the exclusive domain of those in the arts. If you’re able to connect the dots with seemingly disparate information, and throw all the ideas together to present something ‘new’, then you are a creative person.
Emotional intelligence – It’s that intangible ‘something’ that helps us tune into the kaleidoscope of human emotions, and measure how adept we are at adjusting our Behaviour depending on the mood of a colleague, or even our own internal feelings.
Complex problem solving – The ability to ‘solve novel, ill-defined, multi-dimensional problems in complex, real-world settings.’ Think climate change, terrorism and poverty.
Judgement and decision making – In the future, given the speed at which volume of data can be generated and accessed, there will be a growing need to analyse the numbers, find actionable insights, to inform business strategy and decisions.
Cognitive flexibility – the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.
Critical thinking – Being able to use logic and reasoning to interrogate an issue or problem, consider various solutions to the problem, and weigh up the pros and cons of each approach.
People Management – It’s vital that in the future, managers and team leaders know how to motivate their teams, maximise their productivity and respond to their needs.
Coordinating with others – This involves strong communication skills, an awareness of other people’s strengths and weaknesses, and being able to work with a range of different personalities.
Service Orientation – This is all about actively looking for ways to help people and shining a spotlight on end users, consumers or citizens, and anticipating what their needs will be in the future.
Negotiation – People in purely technical occupations will soon be expected to show greater interpersonal skills, and being able to negotiate with your colleagues, managers, clients and teams will be vital.