Having analyzed dozens of different reports and publications on this topic, we were able to distinguish the 7 most essential skills of a successful employee of the future. For your convenience, we have split them into two big categories: hard skills (technical, or down to the ground skills in line with technological & internet revolution) and soft skills (humanitarian, general, and often behavioral capabilities).
The hard skills are:
- STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This broad category has gotten in our focus because of the recent technological advancements, in particular, due to the so-called GNR revolution (genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics). Changes in these fields happen exponentially and millions of new well-paid workplaces are being created annually. Mathematics or statistics is important because of the big data and the need to make sense of it. Jobs like data analysts and data miners are among the hottest in Silicon Valley.
- ICT – Information & Communication Technologies. The Internet is transforming our reality. Virtually all spheres of our life (including work!) are turning into information. Hence, all types of human skills that serve and operate in this information industry are very well-paid.
The soft skills are:
- Problem Solving. As automation (in particular robotics) is taking on traditional workplaces and work duties, one particular skill is still standing – that is problem-solving. Computers have not mastered this area yet, and it’s not likely they would in the nearest 15-20 years. So, humans have an edge here and need to build on this critical advantage. Whether you work in an entry-level office position or as a top manager – effective problem solving is your opportunity to stay competitive for the years to come.
- Critical Thinking. This is yet another skill that is not facing extinction by automation soon. Students learn how important critical thinking is in their senior years in college, most often when they work on their degree thesis or dissertations. One can always train this skill by questioning everything, including other people’s opinions and especially what is published online.
- Collaboration/Communication. New information technologies, especially social media and communication tools are favoring cooperation and collaboration between people. It is so much easier to find a good idea by asking your friends online or solving a problem working as a team. One has to stay open and willing to communicate with others to be successful in the future marketplace.
- Constant Learning & Flexibility. To stay competitive in the future one has to constantly learn new skills and acquire new information. Sometimes it is hard as it is totally against our traditional mindset and even biology (our cognitive abilities diminish with age). Nevertheless, learning how to learn during an entire life is a key skill of a successful future employee. Flexibility goes along with it as it shifts our mindset towards new philosophy, often requiring us to be resistant to stress and being able to work within tight deadlines.
- Leadership. This is the last skill in our list, but not the least in terms of importance. Leadership would perhaps be the last capability to fall under the rise of robots/artificial intelligence (if it would ever fall at all!). Leaders of the future would need to master how to inspire and empower employees as traditional management techniques, such as control and supervision, would be no longer sufficient for the new generation of workers.