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Career Development: Skills Needed for the Future Workplace

As I outlined in my last blog post ‘Career Development: What does the future of work look like?‘, there are five major trends that will impact on the future of work and career development.


By 2035, 40% of today’s professions are likely to have disappeared. They will be replaced by new and exciting jobs to fit around our fast-developing technology. At the same time, our world faces new problems to be solved, the most recent and obvious being the pandemic. So, what types of skills and capabilities should you develop to succeed in this changing workplace? In this post, I explore the skills needed for the future workplace.


Develop your Digital Skills


As the working world becomes increasingly powered by digital, there is a high probability that you’ll need digital skills to succeed. Many industries are already relying on tech to streamline and automate their processes. So, expanding your technical skillset is critical to stay relevant and a skill needed for the future workplace.


Learn how to use at least two new technologies that are likely to become relevant to your profession. Ask yourself how you can work with technology to improve your productivity. If you’re in marketing, for example, tools may help you analyse your efforts and track performance faster. But it could also come from setting up automations to streamline your customer’s journey as well.


Develop Your People Skills too


If you want to future-proof your career, don’t just focus on growing and refining your technical abilities. Robots may be able to automate the technical skills of your job. But soft skills such as leadership, communication and collaboration are still tasks only humans do well. Since robots do not have the same emotional intelligence as humans, these soft skills are and will continue to be in high demand.


The introduction of new technologies in the workplace is likely to drive up demand for the following soft skills:

1: Complex Problem Solving – Solving problems that are not defined, no clear ‘right’ answer


Complex problem solving is a soft skill required by every job. This skill uses both logic and creativity. You need to be able to apply reason to solve problems, but creativity is also necessary for coming up with a solution.

2: Creativity – The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.


The main thing about creativity is that it is unique to every individual. Every person is capable of being creative, it isn’t limited to just being good at painting. Thinking creatively is a soft skill valued by many employers. It means you are able to ‘think outside the box’ and contribute fresh new ideas to the organisation.

3: Collaboration – Working well with others


Being able to work with other people who might be from a variety of different backgrounds is an important skill to have. Nearly every job involves some level of working collaboratively or as part of a team.

4: Critical Thinking – Being able to analyse and test something and form a judgement about it


Critical thinking is all about analysis and organisations value individuals with this skill. Plus it is the key to making improvements. If we all took everything at face value without question, nothing would ever be improved. It is the skill of critical thinking that helps to lead employees to make contributions.

5: Emotional Intelligence – Being aware of your own emotions, understanding others and situations.


Being emotionally intelligent at work is a vital skill that organisations look for. Roles involving customer service or interaction need a great deal of emotional intelligence. But, working in an environment with other colleagues also requires a sensitivity to others. To keep up morale and productivity, it is important that workers are aware of each other’s emotions.

6: Self-Awareness – Knowing yourself; your strengths, weaknesses, emotions and behaviour


Being self-aware is a skill necessary for life. It can be applied to all jobs as it is vital to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the effect you have on others. Self-awareness at work is essential for helping with productivity and relationships.

7: Curiosity – Having a learning mindset and always asking ‘why’.


Curiosity is the partner of critical thinking. Questioning why things happen in the way they do, is the first step in making improvements. That is especially valuable for developing new systems and policies.

8: Resilience – Picking yourself up and moving on from problems, hurdles and negativity


Resilience will have as much a place in the future of work as it does in the present. All jobs involve problem solving, and when things go wrong, it is important that you are able to move forward and learn from these experiences.

9: Adaptability – Finding ways around a problem, comfortable with change, adapting


Adaptability is the number one power skill to future-proof your career. With so much change being foreseen in the future of work, you will have to be ready to cope with anything the future throws at you.

To be adaptable you need to have an open mind, be able to cope with change and pick up new skills quickly. It means being responsive to your environment. And it is highly valuable in the workplace as it means that whatever skills you don’t already have, you will be capable of learning them.

We’d love to hear your plans, so drop a comment below. And let us know the new skills you need for the future of your workplace, and which of the above will you be looking to improve on throughout 2021 and beyond?

We have lots of resources that are free or low cost. That could help you with your career development and skills development journey. Giving you the skills needed for the future workplace.

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