These are the essential skills you will need to be successful in the workplaces of the future.


Digital technologies are transforming the way we work at a rapid pace.

It is inevitable that some of the most in-demand professions of the next decade are still in their stages of development, if not even existing.

A report commissioned by Dell predicts that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.

Researchers seek to understand what this means for the skills we have honed since our early stages of education. Will the skills developed by people who entered the labor market ten years ago still be relevant in the future? And how can we adapt if they are not?

People are worried about the potential obsolescence of their jobs and what they can do about it. A study by the McKinsey Institute has identified over 50 ‘foundational skills’ that will help people thrive in the future world of work.

Naturally, many of these ideas are rooted in the use of technology, but a surprising number encourage us to embrace our soft skills and add value to workplaces beyond the efficiency of what technology. artificial (AI) and algorithms can deliver.

Here are the top eight skills you’ll need to adapt to the future.

1. Dealing with uncertainty

Adaptability has always been a priority for companies looking for quality staff. Knowing how to stay calm in the face of changing work environments and challenges is important, and the past 18 months have proven how crucial this can be.

While we can only hope that we are going through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will be looking for people who have used these unprecedented circumstances to their best advantage. People who are able to cope and not let question marks linger over daily work patterns to distract them from personal and professional growth.

Of course, the nature of our global situation hasn’t always made this possible, and that’s okay. If you’ve been through COVID-19, you can overcome issues that evoke even a fraction of that uncertainty.

Whether you are part of an office of thousands of people acclimatized to working from home or a small team that has collaborated internationally, there are small victories that will be recognized by your future employers for years to come. .

2. Understanding the biases

Much of the technology we use every day is based on algorithmic or societal biases that are often unconscious – operating without knowing they are supporting harmful stereotypes.

Concrete examples of this include the U.S. healthcare system, where researchers have found that an algorithm used on more than 200 million hospitalized patients expressed a strong preference for providing additional medical care to whites over blacks.

AI is constantly being used to identify how we can level the playing field, but it’s not a foolproof approach as it is inherently part of the problem. Humans add value to this process in their daily work because they have an active understanding of these issues and can use compassion to change in ways that technology fails to do.

By working to understand how these perceptions can infiltrate the things we make and use, you are showing future employers that you are aware of one of the biggest issues facing technology this century.

3. Digital literacy

Obviously for the masses of people in search of quality jobs, well paid and stimulating for our spirits. So much so that McKinsey discovered that digital prowess has shown what we perceive to be the strongest proof of good quality education.

This does not necessarily mean a retraining in a field related to technology (although employment rates and wages are consistently high), but making sure that you are able to navigate the digital programs relevant to your field and use them to the best of your ability.

Most office jobs have required the use of digital programs and information systems for decades. But knowledge of using information systems, digital collaboration via cloud-based communications software such as GSuite and Slack, and proficiency in computer programming are all ways to stand out among a sea of ​​people with limited and obsolete digital know-how.

4. Self-awareness and self-management

Understanding where our strengths and weaknesses lie is a good way to know when to ask for help and when to help others.

This way, your future boss is able to identify what you bring to your team. If something is not in your comfort zone, don’t make too many promises and stick with it. If an opportunity presents itself to dazzle people with your knowledge of a relevant area, you will be remembered.

It is ultimately up to employers to implement this – the McKinsey Report links these skills to ideals such as integrity and understanding our emotions and limitations. Employees need to have the space to do it differently, which doesn’t happen without the right workplace culture.

5. Knowledge of cybersecurity

This goes hand in hand with a number of skills McKinsey cites as essential, such as digital literacy. Our ability to use, search and create content using digital platforms helps us better understand the value of data and why it should be protected.

Businesses have an ethical and financial obligation to protect user data – it is of growing importance to lawmakers and undermines trust if not respected. There is a reason Amazon fined € 746 million for biggest GDPR data breach in Europe this year.

After all, data is absolutely everywhere, and we often remove it through caches and cookies without recognizing what that really means. Educating yourself on why this is important and the structures in place that make it vulnerable to damage creation will become increasingly relevant in a number of areas.

6. Synthesize different messages

Some workers who undertake intensive daily research tasks end up feeling like their brains are under information overload.

Studies exploring “appalling levels of worker burnout“, especially in Millenials, make connections between high levels of stress and anxiety and a culture where it is impossible to escape endless swathes of (often unreliable) messages.

Being able to “synthesize” different messages as a means of displaying strengths of critical thinking and communication is a growing desire for many different industries. It means extracting contextual information that you already know and combining it with new ideas in order to see similarities and differences.

This is a requirement of almost every job and will continue to do so as critical thinking is encouraged to tackle damaging levels of disinformation.

7. Entrepreneurship

We live in an age when supporters of secondary income actively encourage supporters of secondary income. This isn’t always a particularly healthy approach, and we don’t recommend it (see Millennium Exhaustion featured in the segment above).

Instead, you should be looking to deploy entrepreneurial values ​​in your main job in order to stand out as someone who isn’t afraid to take risks, moving away from the idea that future jobs are going to require us. to be insane drones.

Exploring new ideas, breaking orthodoxies, and showing genuine energy and passion are all ways to embody this. Some of the biggest and most profitable successes in a start-up culture and wider tech are due to people willing to tear up the rulebook and try something different.

buzz saw a gap in the experience of dating apps for women and now generates over 310 million euros per year. Arrival was tired of London transport not doing enough to cut CO2 emissions and raised € 367million to tackle this. The list goes on.

Depending on your profession, this might sound a bit absurd, but think about it: every business founded on an exciting idea tends to employ thousands of people that they hope will share that mindset.

8. Self-confidence

A strong sense of self-confidence was ranked among McKinsey’s top three desirable skills in roles that produce high income and job satisfaction. It’s a lot easier said than done – many of us don’t feel confident in our abilities because we’re in jobs that demotivate us or make us think we’re the wrong person.

One of the commonly cited positives of tech-integrated work is the proposition that it will facilitate the more mundane and stressful aspects of our work. In this logic, we will have leeway in the years to come to explore our careers in directions that we had not imagined before. If we are ready to seize these opportunities, of course.

Hewlett Packard revealed in 2014 that women tend to only apply for a job if they meet 100 percent of the listed requirements, while the men are happy to take their shot if they meet a little more than half.

“This statistic is a wake-up call that not everyone plays the game this way,” wrote Tara Sophia Moir of the Harvard Business Review.

In short – if you don’t seize the opportunity, someone else will. The job market is no less crowded. Support yourself enough for others to do the same.

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