The future of work is changing.

The skills needed to succeed in a corporate position a mere 10-years ago have dramatically shifted.

Furthermore, skills that were necessary just 5-years ago have shifted and are now more tailored towards emotional and cognitive intelligence and flexibility.

The top job skills needed for 2020 have changed dramatically in just five-years, so it is important to always continue to work on both your soft and hard skills.

These changes have been a long-time coming.

With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, individuals and future corporate candidates must navigate a world fully entrenched with technology and technological capabilities.

The fourth industrial revolution builds upon the third industrial revolution.

The third industrial revolution focused on electronics, automated production, and IT.

The fourth industrial revolution compounds on these advances and introduces new ways in which technology will be embedded within our society and our bodies.

In addition to technological advances and integrations within society, there are a number of additional factors which pose challenges to future generations of workers and employees.

These six drivers of change will radically shift our perceptions of relevant work skills and needs.

Green lines of computer code

Top 6 Drivers Of Change

  • Extreme longevity

By 2025, the number of Americans over the age of 60 will increase by 70%.

With an aging population who are living longer, healthier lives, the concept of career, work, education, child-planning, and retirement will change radically.

Individuals will need to reassess their approach to these life events to accommodate a longer, healthier life.

Individuals will need to plan for these longer timelines and ensure they have adequate resources for themselves.

  • The rise of smart machines and systems

In coming years there will be an increase in the rise of smart machines and systems.

These systems will enter workplaces typically the domain of humans.

The introduction, en-masse, of these systems will force us to revaluate the need of humans in certain domains.

In addition, these smart machines and systems will force us to reevaluate the necessity of human labor.

  • Computational world

The infusion of technology which has the ability to track, sense, and discern everyday actions, objects, and environments will unleash an unprecedented level of data.

In-essence, every action, system, and object will be analyzed and set to a pattern.

This will affect micro and macro decisions.

  • New media ecology

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 a new wave of communication.

We are already seeing a decrease in text-based communication as we adapt to video-based communication levels.

These communication levels will test out abilities to adhere to their needs and understand the perspective being provided.

  • Super-structured organizations

Creating value and content will change dramatically as the tools for their creation are provided to the masses.

Amplified by the collective collaboration of individuals across the globe, the future of work may be very different from the work of today.

  • Globally connected world

Which brings us to our final point, a globally connected world.

With all of the advances provided above, the requirements of any single individual can be vastly different than the needs of yesterday.

A candidate in East Asia can apply themselves for a position located in the Americas with the technology at hand.

Man at desk on laptop wearing button down

Occupations Most Prone to Automation

  1. Telemarketers

2. Tax preparers

3. Insurance appraisers and auto damage

4. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

5. Legal secretaries

6. Hosts and hostesses

7. Real estate brokers

8. Farm labor contractors

9. Secretaries and administrative assistants

10. Couriers and messengers

Occupations Least Prone to Automation

  1. Mental health and social workers

2. Choreographers

3. Physicians and surgeons

4. Psychologists

5. Human resource

6. Computer system analysts

7. Anthropologists and archeologists

8. Marine engineers

9. Sales managers

10. Chief executives


But all is not lost, nor should you lose hope.

There are a plethora of areas and industries which are less prone to automation.

In addition, there are a number of skills which you can work on that are needed to succeed and reduce overall impact by the upcoming industrial revolution.

Blank piece of paper with pens and pencils around it

Top Skills Needed

Complex problem solving

Problem solving utilizing both technological and human techniques will help you to discern yourself from the competition. 

Understanding how to utilize technology to solve complex problems will be a major asset for any company.

Critical thinking

The ability to think critically on an issue and understand the nuances of a problem to get to a resolution will always be a skill in high demand.


Machines cannot compete with humans on creativity.

Creativity that inspires and connects humans are less likely to be automated.

People management

The ability to manage and communicate with people has been a necessary skill since the dawn of time.

Coordinating with others

Being able to work-with and coordinate-with others will help individuals and companies succeed.

Emotional intelligence

Something that cannot be automated is the ability to understand nuanced emotion. 

Having this skill shows your ability to communicate and work well with others.

Decision making

Decisions need to be made. 

While a machine may be able to provide you with options, there must be someone on the receiving end to make a final decision.

Service orientation

So long as humans interact with one-another, there will always be a need for service as a priority.


The ability to negotiate on individual and company needs will always be sought after.

Cognitive flexibility

The ability to think differently is inherently human. 

Having the capability to be flexible in your cognitive ability will serve useful in the future.

Sense making

The ability to determine a deeper meaning than what is being expressed

New media literacy

An extremely important one, new media literacy is the ability to understand and adapt to new forms of media and technology quickly

Computational thinking

Being able to translate vast datasets into comprehendible and easily understood information

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