Petra Sigmund (Auswärtiges Amt) auf einer Konferenz in Nauru
Career tips

The ten top skills for your future career

How and where will we work in the coming years? Never in the past has there been greater uncertainty associated with this question. Because our working world is subject to ever faster change. 133 million jobs are to be created in the next four years, 75 million old ones will be eliminated. At least that’s what the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts.

In its latest study, the WEF asked HR directors and executives from more than 300 companies, 12 industries and 20 industrialized and emerging countries which top skills they will be putting their employees on in the future. And so the answers were:

1. Analytical thinking and innovation
If machines take over a large part of our routine tasks, then those skills that require our very own human thinking will be of great value. For example our gift of recognizing problems, breaking them down into their individual parts and developing unusual and at the same time meaningful possible solutions. Because our individual experience is crucial for this, in the future we will need far more than specialist knowledge in a specific area: namely the willingness to think outside the box and think “out of the box”.

2. Active learning and learning strategies
Curiosity, the willingness to learn and the willingness to continuously develop new fields of experience will also become even more important in the future. Lifelong learning is becoming almost inevitable. The study predicts that by 2022, employees will invest an average of 101 days in retraining and further education.

3. Creativity, originality and initiative
In 2015, creativity was still tenth on the list of top skills. It is now one of the three most important skills that employees should have among the employers surveyed. The reason for this is obvious: In times when new technologies are constantly striving for the market, creative people are needed who can develop them and apply them to new products and services.

4. Technology design and programming
The demand for technological competence will also continue to rise rapidly in the coming years. Above all, design and programming will be in demand in this area, according to the employers surveyed.

5. Critical thinking and analysis
When machines are used in more and more areas of daily working life, human logic and argumentation take on a new role. The requirement for employees to critically assess the use of the new technologies and to support the company when using machines is increasing.

6. Complex problem solving
The new technologies will make working life easier in many places. For their development, however, people are needed who are able to experiment “in their heads” to a high degree, understand the complex work of technologies and can analyze and interpret their work results.

7. Leadership and Social Influence
In the future, managers will be even more challenged to motivate their employees for digital change and to specifically develop talents and skills against the background of the new technologies.

8. Emotional intelligence
The importance of emotional intelligence is also increasing because it is an important aspect that distinguishes human employees from machines. In the future, employers will therefore place even greater emphasis on hiring workers who act empathically, socially and in a team and who are aware of the reactions of others and their own impact on others.

9. Reason, problem solving and brainstorming
Discovering, tackling and solving problems as well as the will to change things in terms of top skills are at the top of the wish list of the hiring manager. Sentences like “It doesn’t work” or “We have always done it this way” have finally had their day. The courage to think outside the box gains from highly specialized knowledge.

10. System analysis and evaluation
Skilled workers who deal with potential software developments and can analyze their effects will also be indispensable.

So it shows: Those who rely on technical and soft skills in their further training are already laying an important foundation for their professional success.

Incidentally, the WEF report not only describes which skills will be particularly important for us in the future, but also those that are losing importance . Above all: manual dexterity, finance and personnel management, time management and even reading, writing, maths and active listening.

Text: Birte Schmidt

Service info: Would you like to know which exciting topics our professional future will bring with it? The 15 most important trends for the world of work of the future can be found in the New Work Trendbook.


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