Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future. This report analyzes key drivers that will reshape the landscape of work and identifies key work skills needed in the next 10 years. It does not consider what will be the jobs of the future. Many studies have tried to predict specific job categories and labor requirements. Consistently over the years, however, it has been shown that such predictions are difficult and many of the past predictions have been proven wrong. Rather than focusing on future jobs, this report looks at future work skills—proficiencies and abilities required across different jobs and work settings.
What skills does one need to be successful in the 21st century workplace? The answers are as diverse as there are industries, but a recent report by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) has narrowed it down to 10 proficiencies... abilities that IFTF predicts will be required across a broad range of jobs and work settings in 2020.
1. Sense Making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
Simply stated, sense making is critical thinking.
The IFTF report states that the rise of smart machines and technology will cause an increasing demand for people with the skills that machines simply do not have. Critical thinking is one of these skills.
If sense making is indeed one of the skills the future worker will need in order to be successful, the pressure is on for educational institutions to cultivate critical thinking abilities in students.
2. Social Intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
3. Novel and Adaptive Thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
4. Cross-Cultural Competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings
5. Computational Thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
6. New-Media Literacy: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.
7. Transdisciplinarity: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
8. Design Mindset: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
9. Cognitive Load Management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work proactively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team