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Future-Proofing Your Workforce: Essential Skills for Success in an Evolving Job Market.

The world of work is undergoing rapid transformations due to economic factors, technological advancements, and evolving workplace expectations. New skills replacing old ones is nothing new (remember when “typing” was a resume-worthy skill?), but the gaps between them are shrinking. According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, 50% of workers will need to acquire fresh skills by 2025, with 40% facing changes in skills deemed fundamental within just a year.


“How do we ensure workforce resilience?” is a concern we often hear voiced by our clients and other Talent Leaders we speak with, as we enter this era of rapidly changing essential skills. To help answer this, as well as other concerns around succession planning and the like, we partnered with our friends at Udder and Talent Table to research Talent Trends in Asia Pacific. The key findings from the research showed just how important skills development is in addressing these concerns. It's crucial to focus on understanding the current skills of your workforce and to start preparing for the future skills required.


In this post, we will explore insights that underscore the importance of cultivating future skills and offer guidance on the skills required for success in the ever-evolving world of work, whether you are upskilling your current workforce, or looking to hire those with a future skill mindset.

 

The Significance of Future Skills

Future skills stand as the linchpin for organisational success within a swiftly changing job market. These competencies empower your team to adjust, thrive, and make meaningful contributions as new professions emerge, driven by digital and AI technologies. Investing in future skills yield several advantages:


  • Longer Tenure and Reduced Turnover: 2023 research by Forbes shows that employees with learning opportunities are happier, more productive, and have a longer tenure. That saves your bottom line on recruitment and training costs, as well as helping with employee engagement and productivity.

  • Versatility and Resilience: These competencies equip your workforce to excel across diverse industries and roles while bolstering teamwork skills, amplifying your employees' ability to work harmoniously with colleagues.

  • Digital Proficiency: In our increasingly digital world, these competencies enable your employees to operate proficiently and provide value beyond what automated systems offer.

 

Now, let's explore some of the specific skills professionals such as Indeed and Forbes believe will be critical for the future of work:


1. Analytical Thinking and Complex Problem-Solving:

Analytical thinking and complex problem-solving skills involve the capacity to critically assess and resolve intricate problems. These skills prove invaluable for research, problem-solving, and trend prediction. To hone these skills, encourage your employees to keenly observe their surroundings, deepen their industry insights, and refine their problem-solving acumen.


2. Active Learning and Cognitive Flexibility:

Active learning and cognitive flexibility are essential for fully engaging in the learning process and adapting quickly to varying work scenarios and tasks. Encourage your employees to engage in discussions, role-playing scenarios, and problem-solving exercises to bolster these abilities.


3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

Effective communication skills, including adept verbal and nonverbal communication, interpretation of written and spoken language, and conveying ideas effectively, are crucial for interpreting and conveying ideas. They also play a pivotal role in fostering healthy relationships within your organisation and achieving organisational goals.


4. Emotional Intelligence and Self-Management:

Emotional intelligence and self-management encompass the regulation of emotions, comprehension of others, conflict resolution, and the creation of a positive workplace atmosphere. They enhance collaboration, teamwork, and goal attainment within your organisation. Elevating these skills involves encouraging attentive listening, considering diverse viewpoints, and pursuing compromises during disagreements. It also encompasses controlling thoughts, emotions, and actions both in work and personal life, including organisation, ambition, adaptability, time management, and stress management.


5. Initiative and Innovation:

Initiative embodies the ability to identify opportunities for enhancement and devise plans for improvement, while innovation skills are imperative for crafting fresh strategies, capabilities, and processes. They enable your employees to leverage existing knowledge to unearth original ideas that benefit your team and organisation.


6. Leadership and Social Influence, Reasoning, and Ideation:

Leadership qualities, such as responsibility, initiative, and integrity, hold immense worth within organisations. Proficient leaders can wield a positive influence over others, fostering collaboration, goal-setting, and time management. Reasoning involves proceeding logically from hypothesis to conclusion, whereas ideation focuses on creative idea generation and problem-solving. These skills complement analytical thinking, innovation, and initiative.


7. Digital Literacy and Technology Design:

Digital literacy has increasing importance as we experience this rapid advance in workplace technology. It encompasses comprehension of technological terminology and competence with digital tools, as well as the ability to create, understand, and enhance digital user experiences within your organisation. Just this year, we have seen an explosion in AI tools across many disciplines, including art (Dall-E), writing and programming (Chat-GPT) and even marketing and search (Bard). Just like the word processor, typewriter, printing press before it, those who fail to learn and adapt to these technologies will fall behind.

 

What can individual employees do?

If you’re an employee at a company that isn’t investing enough in L&D, there are still some things you can do to help prepare yourself for the future skills your role may require.


  • Think about your “hidden skills”. Looking at the list above - do you actually already have experience and ability in these skills already? Could they be better highlighted on your CV to emphasise this? You might already have some “future skills” you didn’t think about.

  • Micro credentialing. Not everyone has the time or resources to obtain a Masters, or a second Bachelor’s, or another higher education certificate. But there are a myriad of short courses and “boot camps” out there that can help give you a boost to your skillset.

  • Internal project shadowing. If you’re in a medium or large organisation with multiple departments, and you’re interested in learning a bit more about what another department does, then ask! You’ll be learning straight from the horse's mouth, which is often the best way to go about it.

 

Conclusion

The evolving workforce necessitates a proactive approach to skill development. To ensure that your organisation thrives in the ever-shifting job market, it's essential to equip your workforce with future skills that elevate adaptability, critical thinking, communication, and emotional intelligence. By concentrating on developing or hiring for these vital competencies, you can safeguard your organisation against the unpredictabilities of the dynamic world of work. Encourage lifelong learning within your team and stay ahead in the professional journey of your organisation.


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