The future of work is changing, and the events of 2020 have done absolutely nothing to slow down the tide of transformation. The skills needed to succeed in working in a corporate position only ten years ago have dramatically shifted. Furthermore, the qualifications and experience necessary just five years back have entirely disappeared in some cases. We’re currently seeing high demand for abilities more tailored towards emotional and cognitive intelligence and flexibility. The top job skills required in 2020 are a totally new concept for many of us.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know these changes have been a long in the making, but recent events have conspired to accelerate transformation. With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, individuals and future corporate candidates must navigate a world that’s been transformed by technology – and that’s inevitably created an environment where we need to stop for a minute and take stock.
Training for the Digital Revolution – the Tech That’s Driving Change
The job skills required in 2020 are different to those of a decade ago. The ongoing digital revolution was built upon what happened during the third industrial revolution. The changes there were mainly focused on electronics, automated production, and ever more sophisticated IT. The fourth industrial revolution compounds on those earlier advances, presenting a multitude of new ways in which technology can be embedded within our society – and even within our bodies.
In addition to technological advances and integrations within society, there are a number of additional factors that pose challenges to future generations of workers and employees. These six drivers of change will radically shift our perceptions of what relevant work skills are – and alter how we go about readying ourselves for new career challenges.
Understanding How Skillsets are Shifting: The Top Six Drivers of Change
To understand our current working environment and the job skills required in 2020, it’s necessary to examine each of the six drivers of change in more detail. They paint a picture of a changing workforce, increased use of continually evolving technology, and a globally connected, media-savvy world.
By 2025, the number of Americans over the age of 60 will have increased by 70%. With an aging population and citizens living longer, healthier lives, the concept of career, work, education, family planning, and even retirement will change radically. Individuals will need to reassess their approach to these life events in order to account for those lengthier lives. That’s going to mean planning for longer timelines and ensuring they have adequate financial resources for the journey.
The rise of smart machines and systems
In coming years there will be an increase in the rise of smart machines and systems – in fact, it’s already happening. These tools will enter workplaces that have traditionally been the sole domain of humans. The wholesale introduction of such systems will force us to revaluate the need for humans in certain sectors, roles, and professions.
The new, computational world
A widespread introduction of technologies with the ability to track, sense, and discern everyday actions, objects, and environments will unleash an unprecedented level of data. In essence, every activity, system, and object will be analyzed and set to a pattern. That will profoundly affect the way we action both micro and macro decisions.
A new media ecology is coming
New technological ecologies will continue to appear and enhance our communications. Advances in video, augmented reality, virtual reality, and media will force us to adapt to new waves of communication. We are already seeing a decrease in text-based communication as we adjust to video-based communication methods – and that’s only going to become more commonplace. Many organizations have relied on audio conferencing until now, but a recent study saw 79% of respondents declare video conferencing to be significantly more effective. Such levels of communication will test our abilities to understand the perspective and comprehend the information being provided. There’s never been a better time to brush up on your Zoom technique.
Creating both value and content will change dramatically as the tools we use for production get distributed among the masses. When amplified by the collective collaboration of individuals across the globe, the future of work may be very different from the work of today.
We’re living in a globally connected world
All of which brings us to our final point – a globally connected world. With all of the technological advances we’re about to experience, distance, and time zones will matter less and less. Working from home is on the rise. Soon, there won’t be anything to stop a candidate in East Asia, for example, applying for a position located in the Americas.
The Top Ten Occupations Most Prone to Automation
With the rise of AI and its increasing use within the workplace, and new digital technologies that can take up some of the slack when it comes to running businesses day to day, some roles are set to disappear. A new generation of job skills required in 2020 will change our perceptions about labor. So, when planning for a career, it’s wise to consider how tech will impact our jobs and organizations and adjust to suit that. Here are the roles most prone to automation, according to a recent weforum.org report on The Future of Jobs:
- Tax agents
- Insurance appraisers and auto damage
- Umpires, referees, and other sports officials
- Legal secretaries
- Hosts and hostesses
- Real estate brokers
- Farm labor contractors
- Secretaries and administrative assistants
- Couriers and messengers
Ten Occupations Least Prone to Automation
It’s not all doom and gloom, and not every role can be performed by a machine or algorithm – at least not for the time being! Some sectors and professions will flourish during the future of work. There is still a massive range of occupations to aim for if you’re starting a career in 2020. Here are the roles set to benefit from automation:
- Mental health and social workers
- Physicians and surgeons
- Human resource
- Computer system analysts
- Anthropologists and archaeologists
- Marine engineers
- Sales managers
- Chief executives
The Top Job Skills Needed in 2020
The future of work isn’t a bad thing by any means, and it’s far from being the first time industry, business, and commerce have gotten disrupted by changes in technology. As it’s done before, the workforce will adapt to the shift and move forward. As a career professional, it’s essential to make sure you end up on the right side of history, however. There are a number of skills that you can work on right now that are soon going to be needed. Some time spent thinking and planning now will do nothing to hurt your chances of success.
Boost your complex problem-solving skills
Problem-solving is one of the most sought-after skills heading into the new decade. If you can utilize both technological and human techniques to solve problems, you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition for roles.
Computational thinking and big data
Being able to translate vast datasets into easily understood information will be a key skill in the future workplace – and companies will be on the lookout for qualified persons.
Critical thinking skills are Vital
The ability to think critically on an issue and to understand the nuances of a problem in order to find a solution will always be a skill in high demand. That’s even more true in a constantly and rapidly changing business environment.
Your creativity cannot be replaced
Machines cannot yet compete with humans on creativity – they’re not even close. Creativity that inspires and connects humans will be even more vital for businesses in the new media age. The more connections and creative outlets there are, the more effort and talent it will take for organizations and brands to stand out.
New media literacy, new you
An extremely important skill, new media literacy is the ability to understand and adapt to new forms of media and technology quickly.
Make time to hone your people management skills
The ability to manage and communicate in a professional manner with ever more diverse and scattered teams is going to become a vital asset for companies as we move forward. It’s not like communication hasn’t mattered since the dawn of time; it’s just that remote workforces and distributed teams pose some logistical challenges.
Get good at cooperating with others
Likewise, as a team member, being able to communicate, work, and with and fit in with others is going to be an increasingly valuable skill to have in the digital future of work. We’re likely to perform in more fluid, varied roles as organizations evolve. Employees with emotional intelligence and a diverse range of skills who are used to being agile and adapting frequently will be held in high regard by employers all over.
Flex your cognitive flexibility
Being able to think differently is inherently human. Having the capability to be flexible in your cognitive ability will be supremely useful in the future.