10 Skills You Need to Survive the Job Market by 2020

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) came out with a report which they call “Future Work Skills 2020” based on their intensive research in order to identify the 10 skills areas that will be most relevant to the workforce of the future. To be successful in future these are the skills employees need to acquire:

1. Sense Making

Decision making is something that even the highly advanced machines cannot perform. There will be an increasing demand for higher level thinking skills which humans are good at. So, critical thinking or sense-making will emerge as a skill which we humans increasingly need to capitalize on.

2. Social Intelligence

The ability to connect with people and adapt accordingly is another skill which machines lack in. To maintain meaningful relationships with other people it’s critical to understand what they feel and only humans are gifted with that trait. Our emotions and social IQ will remain as one of the crucial assets that will give human workers a comparative advantage over machines.

3. Novel & Adaptive Thinking

The ability to respond to unexpected circumstances is something which again is missing in machines. MIT Professor David Autor conducted a study where he tracked that jobs are being polarized into extreme ends of high-skills and low-skills. It was observed that job opportunities are declining in middle-skilled section and increasing in both high-skilled and low-skilled areas. Both high-skill and low-skill areas require situational adaptability – the ability to respond to unique unexpected circumstances of the moment.

4. Cross-Cultural Competency

It has been shown through research that diverse groups yield superior outcomes as compared to homogeneous groups. To be successful one must be able to operate in whatever environment is provided to them which requires specific skill-set. One should be able to work not just in different linguistic or cultural settings, but in cohorts of different generations and different people with varied skills and working styles. Diversity will therefore become a core competency for organizations over the next decade.

5. Computational Thinking

We collect data from vast sources and as the amount increases exponentially, there will be many roles that require computational thinking skills in order to make sense of this information. One has to be analytical, able to understand the sense-making meaning of the data at our disposal and to make decisions based on it.

6. New-Media Literacy

User generated media like videos, blogs, and podcasts have changed the way we communicate and consume information. Expectations of creating content with these new forms will be drastically high in future. Everyone will need to become fluent in digital and social media forms of communications in the same way that they currently assess a paper or presentation.

7. Transdisciplinary

Next century will encourage transdisciplinary. Even the global problems we are facing today cannot be solved by one specific discipline. It requires the help of many other area specialists to get desired solutions. The future worker of the next century has to have deep understanding of at least one field as well as familiarity with a broader range of disciplines.

8. Design Mindset

With computational thinking it will be possible for us to plan our environments so that they generate the outcomes that we are most interested in. Physical environment does effect our mood and hence the work productivity. Future workers will need to be able to recognize the kind of thinking that different tasks require and make adjustments to their work environments that enhance their ability to accomplish these tasks.

9. Cognitive Load Management

With such a huge load of data influx it will be very important to effectively filter and focus on what is important. To tackle this problem of cognitive overload, next generation of workers will have to develop their own filtering techniques and tools.

10. Virtual Collaboration

We already know that techniques borrowed from gaming are very effective in engaging large virtual community cohorts. Future for virtual collaboration looks very promising as working and collaborating effectively virtually will be a necessity in the near globalised future.