Skills you will need for work in the future

Photo credit - Startup Stock Photos via

Photo credit – Startup Stock Photos via

The core work of the Institute for the Future for the Phoenix University Research Institute is to forecast emerging trends and discontinuities that will transform global society and the global market place. This post focuses on their projections on future work skills. 

Disruption and reshaping
The research institute proposes that there are six drivers of change that will disrupt and reshape the future landscape. Whilst each one is significant, it is their interactions in concert that brings disruption. They call it confluence.

Six drivers of change
The six drivers of change that are predicted to be the most important to the work skills required in the future are:

  1. extreme longevity – an increasing, ageing population
  2. the rise of smart machines and systems – workplace automation replacing humans
  3. computational work – massive increases in turning all interactions and processes into data and programmable systems
  4. new media ecology – new communication tools and new media influences incorporating video, animation and other visual communication channelled into daily lives
  5. superstructured organisations – structures that go beyond the usual boundaries, incorporating collaboration and social tools in new ways of working
  6. globally connected world – globalisation with exchanges and integration across geographic borders
Photo credit -

Photo credit –

Ten new skills for the future
Sense-making – ascertain the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed

Social intelligence – ability to connect with others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions

Novel and adaptive thinking – proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based

Cross-cultural competency – ability to operate in different cultural settings

Computational thinking – ability to translate cast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning

New media literacy – ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these for persuasive communication

Trans-disciplinarity – literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines

Design mindset – ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes

Cognitive load management – ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximise cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques

Virtual collaboration – ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team
(Future Work Skills)

The implications?
The research proposes there will be significant implications in three main areas:

  • education
  • business
  • government policy

Education will need to respond to the disruptions and develop education programs that embraces new ways of learning. This will include promoting critical thinking and design skills, that underpin many of the future work skills as well engaging in new technologies and social learning.

Business will need to adapt strategies to suit new demands and workforce diversity. Recruiting and developing talent that has or adapts to have future work skills will be central to human resource management strategies.

Government policies will shape the way money is spent in areas like education. The development of new skills and their ongoing evolution will need to be promoted through education in institutions as well as lifelong learning opportunities.

How does this affect you?
Does knowing this impact you? Will you do anything to develop skills in the areas identifies above? Would you, if you knew that your job was going to disappear in the future? If not you, what about your children or young people who are important to you? 

Read more here on this Slideshare presentation.

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