Top 10 Skills of the Future according to the World Economic Forum (2023)

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Articles10 Essential Skills For Every Future Proof Organization according to the World Economic Forum

Food for thought

The World Economic Forum publishes a trend report on the future of work every two years: The Future of Jobs. In October 2020, the report included a top 10 skills of the future, anticipating a rapidly changing world of work. These changes in the global labor market will require people to have different skills than they do today. This means that by 2025, a major part of the workforce needs to be reskilled. So what skills are in demand in the near future? What will our jobs in 2025 look like? In this article, we’ll discuss what those future workspace skills are, why they are important and what we can do to prepare for the Reskilling Revolution.

CONTENTS

  1. The main drivers behind the need for future skills
  2. The TOP 10 in-demand skills of the future
  3. Why are these future workspace skills important?
  4. [Lepaya Survey] – How do Dutch employees rank themselves on the key skills of the future?
  5. The time is now: take action today to prepare for the future!

1. What are the main drivers behind the need for future skills?

During their annual meeting in January 2020, the World Economic Forum presented a plan to provide one billion people with better education, skills, and jobs by 2030. They launched a program called The Reskilling Revolution, helping governments, the public sector, and businesses to achieve those ambitious goals. One of the claims of the WEF is that by 2025, half of all employees globally will need to learn new core skills to be equipped for the future. To understand why we must first understand what the main drivers are behind this need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce.

1. Digital and technological transformation

The process of digital transformation and incorporation of innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, The Internet of Things, and robotics has been gaining momentum for a while now, but the rate of these digital and technological changes is accelerating. As the World Economic Forum states, we’re entering a fourth industrial revolution that will change the way we live, work, and interact with each other fundamentally – enabled by unparalleled technological developments. As a result, there is a strong need for the upskilling and reskilling of employees as their jobs increasingly involve the use of these disruptive technologies.

2. Emerging new business models & workplace transformation

It will come as no surprise that the global pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we work. But also other factors like an increasing focus on diversity, inclusion, and sustainability fast-tracked the rise of new business models and the need for transforming the workplace. As existing business models are restructured, new (online) business models emerge, hybrid working is the new normal and companies are more aware of their social responsibilities, people’s jobs, and the skills required to perform them are also changing.

3. Bridging the skills gap

According to a 2020 McKinsey & Company study, 87 percent of executives and HR managers say they currently face a major skills gap (the mismatch between available and required skills and talents within the organization), or expect to face one in the near future. Not so long ago, skills were valid for about five years, but nowadays many skills are outdated after only two years. This is also called a skills gap: employees lack the skills they need to continue to do their jobs well in the future.

Closing that talent gap is critical to an organization’s success. While most respondents to the McKinsey survey indicated that they primarily recruit externally to fill those gaps, about a third said they have started focussing on skills building and training their employees to either perform more and different tasks in their current role or to move to other, sometimes multiple, roles.

4. The need for self-actualization and adapting to a changing world

When we look at employee happiness, learning new skills and growing in a certain direction plays an important role. It’s an essential part of the self-actualization needs that all humans have. Besides the need for growth, most people by now realize that in order to adapt to a changing world, create career opportunities, and contribute to an innovative, inclusive and sustainable working environment, you’ll need to keep on developing yourself and master a number of future proof skills.

More than 1 billion jobs, almost one-third of all jobs worldwide, are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

2. What are the in-demand skills of 2025?

To anticipate the challenges and opportunities both companies and employees will face in the near future, the WEF listed a list of 10 future workspace skills that will be highly in demand by the time we reach 2025.

Top 10 skills of the future:

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning and learning strategies
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Creativity, originality and initiative
  6. Leadership and social influence
  7. Technology use, monitoring and control
  8. Technology design and programming
  9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  10. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

These 10 skills are divided into four different categories:
Top 10 Skills of the Future according to the World Economic Forum (1)

1. Problem-solving

This category is the most extensive one, as it contains five of the most important skills of 2025: analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, creativity, originality and initiative, and finally reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation.

The skill of complex problem-solving and analytical thinking is not something that people are usually born with, but rather it’s a skill that we develop as we evolve through our careers. Although it helps to have an analytical mind, learning to analyze data can be quite easy and fun.

Problem-solving also requires creativity, initiative, and originality. Having a creative and original approach helps to push innovation and to look at problems with a fresh eye and an open mind.

We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

Albert Einstein

Having the skill of complex problem-solving means being able to solve issues that other people can’t solve. Whether it’s through pure creativity and original, innovative ideas, or through an extensive statistical analysis to discover the weak points of an organization, problem-solving-related skills are a must to be successful in the future– both on an organizational and an individual level. As the world of work becomes more complex and fast-moving, the ability to find the cause of complex problems and then solve them will become increasingly vital.

Take action

  • To become better at problem-solving, provide employees with goals, not instructions
  • Stimulate a culture that appreciates new ideas and creative minds
  • Create an atmosphere of trust and respect, so people feel free to show initiative and be critical

2. Self-management

You, and any member of your organization, will inevitably make mistakes. Actually, innovation and failure go hand in hand, and the best innovations rarely come together on the first try. This is why self-management is a category that contains the skill of resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility, as these are the skills needed to continue to maintain a positive mind even when ‘things get tough or when we are faced with unexpected situations (like a global pandemic).

One of the other skills suggested by the World Economic Forum as part of the self-management category is active learning and learning strategies. These are inevitable since the only way to continue to improve in your work is through learning. It means being quick to adapt to new situations and acquiring as much information, as fast as possible. This specific skill has a clear mental component to it, as it is necessary to forgive yourself when you make a mistake, and to stay put when you are under stress, thus being able to think clearly.

We learn from failure, not from success!

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula

When it comes to learning, it is necessary to remain positive and believe that mistakes help us improve, and experiences make us grow. One factor that may help with this is to understand the benefits of having a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset.

Take action

  • Make sure the members of your team help each other through peer-to-peer learning
  • Stimulate both your employees and leaders to learn new cognitive, motivational, and social-based skills through individual learning paths
  • Allow everyone to understand that mistakes are part of growth
  • Cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and personal growth
  • Find the best learning method to upskill your employees so they can discover their full potential, like withLepaya’s Virtual Reality training
  • Create a culture where learning new skills is rewarded, not just by remuneration but by offering new opportunities and personal growth
  • Connect people to work that enables them to harness their skills or helps them grow those skills by learning through work

A growth mindset is the belief that talents and abilities can be developed – without denying the importance of talent.

Carol Dweck

3. Working with people

According to the WEF list, another skill that is considered very important in the near future is leadership and social influence. After all, we are constantly connecting and collaborating with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders at work. To successfully do this, soft skills like empathy, conflict resolution, communication, and decision-making are vital.

It may sound contradictory, but with the rise of AI and digitalization, organizations need to strongly focus on the development of these soft skills. While AI may take over human functions and tasks in some contexts, it will never be able to replace what makes us human. Many routine tasks will become superfluous, but emotional intelligence, cooperation, communication skills and other leadership skills will become increasingly important. Especially now that we work more remotely and hybrid organization models are taking off.

Take action

  • Make sure your team has the right communication skills to display ideas in an understandable way to your organization
  • Offer employees and teams autonomy and a take ownership over their careers and the projects they work on
  • Focus on the development of soft skills

4. Technology use and development

Last but not least, the skills of technology use, monitoring, and control as well as technology design and programming will play a huge role in the future of any industry. Technology has played a major part in our lives for many years now, and this will only continue to grow at an even faster pace by 2025.

Data science, AI, machine learning, and deep learning are important skills for jobs that will become increasingly common in the future. Think big data architects, digital marketing specialists, and machine learning engineers. That is why it is very important to focus on having a team that is tech savvy and that knows its way around the use of technology.

But it’s not only about having programming skills, it’s also about understanding the power of technology, its use, and how to control it. This will allow people to truly understand how their work can be done in a much more efficient and agile way.

Take action

  • Find an aspect of your organization that is not automated or digital and search for possibilities to optimize it
  • Increase speed in your projects by delegating potential tasks to other tools and programs
  • Empower your teams by teaching them to work with smart technologies and future-proof competencies

3. Why are these future workspace skills important?

A lack of skills is what often holds organizations back from taking advantage of market opportunities, innovative solutions, and adapting to change. To bridge the skills gap and make sure your business is future-proof, people continuously need to learn and grow. Therefore, the development of your staff deserves your full attention and commitment. Lack of the opportunity to grow can lead to the departure of your best employees, which is certainly not what you want in these times of labor shortages and the War for Talent. Investing in the skills of your people is a powerful way for retaining talent and mobilizing goodwill and commitment.

To be ready for the Reskilling Revolution and the Future of Work, businesses need to focus on creating development programs for both their leaders and employees and invest in training. It’s important to get all stakeholders on board and make them understand and appreciate the need for developing these skills of the future. It will help your company to adapt to the rapidly changing world of work, it will improve business performance and at the end of the day, it will also help to achieve higher customer satisfaction. So make sure your training managers, HR department, and executives take action. How?

  • Understand how these future skills add value to your organization
  • Make an inventory of which skills you have, which are missing, and which you are going to use
  • Make sure you have a clear learning strategy that is future-oriented
  • Put the well-being and talent development of your people first
  • Invest in growth and training programs

Tomorrow’s success will require new and different skills. And that’s a good thing. It keeps us fresh and focused on the future.

4. [Lepaya Survey] How do Dutch employees rank themselves on the key skills of the future?

At Lepaya, we train employees with the right skills at the right time and in the right way, so that they can make the most out of their professional and personal lives. Helping companies and their employees develop their future skills is part of our DNA. In our most recent Lepaya Skills Monitor, published in October 2021, we were curious about the following: How do Dutch employees rank themselves on the key skills of the future?

We surveyed 1.065 professionals and asked them how they rated themselves on eight key skills that we feel are necessary in order to continue their job well – now and in the future. Curious? You can read the results here.

5. The time is now: take action today to prepare for the future

Are these 10 future skills already an integrated part of your organization? Or are you perhaps missing any of them? At Lepaya we aim to help you with any skills that are needed, whether it is a hard or soft skill. With our Power Skill programs, we have the solution for any of the 10 skills that are needed according to the World Economic Forum. If you want to know more about Lepaya and our Power Skills training, be sure to get in touch!

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Case study KPMG

At KPMG impactful learning starts with personalization

Read about KPMG’s experience and how they’ve developed a dynamic learning path through a personalized L&D approach.

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Top 10 Skills of the Future according to the World Economic Forum (2)

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