The Future of Work: Preferred Skills Are Now Essential 

The ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace is witnessing a significant transformation, driven by digital advancements and the integration of artificial intelligence technologies. In this dynamic environment, the World Economic Forum has consistently highlighted the critical importance of skills like critical thinking and problem-solving for nearly a decade. However, in their most recent Future of Jobs Report, they emphasized that the global workforce faces a pivotal moment. By 2025, a staggering 50% of all workers will need to upskill to remain competitive. The report introduces a new set of self-management skills, including emotional intelligence, active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility, which have now become indispensable alongside the ability to embrace and adapt to emerging technologies. 

This shift means that within just two years, what were once considered preferred skills will become essential for achieving success in the workplace. To thrive and be prepared for new opportunities driven by digital and AI technologies, it is imperative to cultivate these new skills, regardless of your chosen career path. Developing these skills will empower you to: 

  • Adapt to changes in various settings and new environments 
  • Enhance your ability to collaborate within a team 
  • Navigate the digital realm effectively 
  • Contribute unique value beyond what automated systems and artificial intelligence can offer 
  • Create pathways for career advancement 

Here are five of the most important and in-demand skills that will not only set you apart but also position you for success: 

1. Emotional Intelligence / Interpersonal Skills 

Emotional intelligence is a powerful skill that allows you to be more aware of your own emotional responses, thoughts, and actions in the workplace. This self-awareness empowers you to better understand others, resolve conflicts, collaborate effectively, and foster healthy relationships. To improve your emotional intelligence, invest in developing effective listening skills, recognize your conflict resolution style, and actively seek feedback on your behaviors and interactions with others. 

2. Digital Literacy 

Once regarded as a valuable skill primarily for technology-related professions, digital literacy has now become a fundamental life skill. It entails the ability to use technology safely,

effectively, and responsibly. In an era where technology continues to intertwine with our work and we coexist with machine learning and AI, the significance of digital literacy is constantly growing. To enhance your digital literacy, consider enrolling in computer science courses or participating in workshops focusing on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. 

3. Communication 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of collaboration in a workplace where in-person interactions are dwindling. Be it emails, text messages, instant messaging, or video calls, the ability to convey ideas and interpret meaning from written and spoken language is paramount. To become a more adept communicator, be mindful of your communication style, pay close attention to what you are saying, and become attuned to how others around you communicate and respond. 

4. Flexibility & Switch-tasking 

Flexibility skills allow you to adapt your habits and behaviors to fit different job requirements and tasks. Those with a high degree of flexibility can adjust their schedules or quickly switch tasks to accommodate unforeseen situations. Developing these skills can be facilitated through improved time management. It’s worth noting that “switch-tasking” is the contemporary term for multitasking, recognizing that while we can’t perform multiple tasks simultaneously, we can effectively switch between tasks. 

5. Influence 

Individuals with leadership qualities, like responsibility, initiative, and integrity, naturally wield influence. The ability to empower others to choose specific actions and beliefs, rather than compelling them, is a hallmark of leadership. Opinion leaders, often referred to as social influencers, are prized for their capacity to build an audience that trusts them as sources of information and expertise. To enhance your ability to influence others, prioritize building trust through honesty, transparency, consistency, confidence, and personable interactions. 

However, the most pivotal skill that underlies and amplifies the development of all others is being an active learner. Active learning signifies a constant commitment to personal growth and development. It is through active engagement in activities that we most effectively absorb knowledge, develop skills, and learn how to perform job tasks. This quality is highly valued by employers as it indicates adaptability and ease of training. You can boost your mastery of these essential skills by actively participating in discussions, problem-solving activities, embracing new challenges, and enrolling in formal development workshops and courses.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, these skills will not only enhance your employability but also ensure your success in a rapidly changing world. So, seize this opportunity to cultivate these essential skills and embark on a journey of continuous growth and advancement.