Top 10 skills employers are looking for

skills you'll need in 5 years

Work is changing due to the rise in technological advances and the COVID pandemic. The World Economic Forum lists a set of skills employers are looking for.

Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers strongly desire. This is according to the third edition of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which maps the jobs and skills of the future.

The report says that half of us will need to “reskill” due to the “double disruption” and economic impacts the pandemic and increasing automation will cause. The latter has been on the radar for some time now. The former has not. Fortunately, according to the report, the same technological disruption that is transforming jobs can also provide the key to creating them and helping us learn new skills.


85 million jobs could be displaced and 97 million created

The World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2025, 85 million jobs could be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines. But they also estimate that even more (97 million) jobs will be created in this new cross-section of humans, machines and algorithms.

In-demand skills will change over the next five years, and the skills gap people are always going on about will remain wide.


Self-management skills on the rise

Despite the radical change and disruption 2020 has brought, the skills employers believe will grow most in demand over the next five years have remained consistent since the first Future of Jobs report was released in 2016. New skills on the list are mostly soft skills and they include self-management skills like active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. This makes sense given the rise in remote work and the need for people to be autonomous and manage themselves.

The report lists the “top 10 skills” that will rise in prominence over the next five years, but really there are about 23. For example, the authors lump things like “resilience” and “flexibility” together, which are really two completely different things. They also break the skills down into four categories: problem-solving, self-management, working with people, technology use and development.


The top 10 skills you’ll need are:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

When it comes to what they’re calling “reskilling,” 39% of employers plan to do it internally while this will be supplemented by online learning platforms and external consultants.

The reality is that all of the listed skills are obviously good to have and anyone who has the time and resources to learn and sharpen these skills now should probably do so. It will keep us all relevant and competitive in the future.   

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