Many careers in the near future will be significantly different from those today. In fact, many haven’t even been created yet. Constant technological evolution will require workers to use different skill sets built upon different ways of thinking and approaching problem solving. Already, the technology-enabled rise of teleworking, automation, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, digital transactions, instant access to information and online social interaction have changed the expectations that surround the ordinary worker—both what is expected of them and what they expect from the people they work for and with.
In the future, workers will need to be able to make decisions faster, with greater autonomy and enhanced contextual understanding, work with others from all over the world, digest large amounts of information, and blend knowledge from various disciplines to create solutions to problems that challenge the status quo. At every level, from CEO to entry-level employee to entrepreneur, future careers will require substantially transformed ways of thinking, performing, operating, and collaborating, encapsulated in future skills representing four important categories: personal skills, people skills, applied knowledge, and workplace skills.
In the recently released Future Skills Update and Literature Review, ACT partner Institute for the Future outlines the 11 key skills successful future workers will master.
11 Key Future Skills
Resilience will be paramount in a future economic environment characterized by constant technological and social change. Workers will need to demonstrate the ability to treat others with respect, show a willingness to work aggressively and seek out new challenges, exhibit responsibility and adaptability, and display professionalism.
Future workers will be team players who need to lead meaningful collaboration with diverse constituencies, mastering skills including:
· cross cultural competency– employing a blend of skills and contextual awareness to engage with people from other backgrounds, countries, and mindsets;
· social intelligence– effectively developing online relationships by leveraging cyber networks, crowdsourcing, and distributed teams who connect remotely; and
· virtual collaboration– working well with others who are in other locations and mainly connect digitally or via the telephone.
Workers of the future must be able to think critically and independently analyze massive amounts of information, using a variety of tools and resources and knowledge in mathematics, science, and technology to make logical conclusions. This will require an ability to process and communicate complex information using skills in the following areas:
· novel and adaptive thinking– “outside the box” conceptualization that contextualizes problems in nontraditional ways and can be adjusted to account for new information, perspectives, constructs, or desired outcomes;
· cognitive load management– the ability to quickly process and assess large amounts of information; and
· sense-making- being able to position often automated data-driven decision-making in proper relationship to the real-life impact on human beings.
The worker of the future will be independent problem-solvers able to construct new ways to create opportunities using rapidly developing technology. Skills in this area include:
· new media literacy- dynamically embracing evolving formats in which information is shared and becoming proficient in using emerging tools for content creation and distribution;
· design mindset- developing a habit of independently looking for ways to rethink and re-engineer systems, relationships, social environments, products and services;
· transdisciplinary approaches– discovering intersections between disciplines that approach problem-solving in novel ways;
· computational thinking- understanding the way digital systems connect.
Download the infographic here.