According to an article from the World Economic Forum, 35% of the skills that are crucial in today’s workforce will have changed by the year 2020.
The emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution – characterised by an exponential increase in various digital and cyber technologies – will be in full swing.
The rise of smart machines and systems, our computational world, new media ecology, superstructure organisations and the reality of globalisation, are all key factors driving this era. Your current job may cease to exist; new jobs will grow in its place, and currently nonexistent jobs will become the norm.
The question is: how do you ensure your skillset is aligned with the pace of the future’s workforce?
A recent IDC survey, commissioned by Microsoft, shed some light on this question – identifying that although technical skills are valuable, employers of the future will place greater importance on soft skills:
Check out five of the soft skills you’ll need to impress your employer with in 2025, and how you can master them for maximum impact:
Employers value this skill today and will value it even more in the future: the ability to adapt your behaviour to accommodate various styles of communication, different strengths and weaknesses, and a multitude of personalities.
If you’re in a position of leadership or looking to move into one in the future, this will be a key competency to develop.
Linked to social intelligence is the capacity to function in a multicultural setting – a soft skill which will be key for working in a world where globalisation is here to stay.
This means you’ll need to be able to adapt the way you communicate, collaborate and interact with people across cultures, as well as work with varying cultural beliefs, time schedules, and nuances. How will you identify, understand and accommodate different cultures in your future work environment?
Speak a universal language of visual communication – this is translatable across language and cultural barriers, so use images or video, as a way to train employees, or educate others in your workspace.
Ask your current co-workers questions – take the time to learn basic words, phrases and gestures from other cultures in an effort to identify with people you may work with in the future.
Make the effort to educate – cultivate an environment of learning, where you transfer the cultural knowledge you have acquired to those you work with. Maybe even teach your boss a thing or two.
New media literacy
As you might be aware, video and audio content are becoming even more prominent when it comes to the exchange of information. Within the next five years it will be even more present, in a wider range of industries. Whether your role currently has a direct relation to these forms of media or not, your ability to consume and understand visual content is going to be a highly desirable skill to your future employer.
Globalisation has resulted in workplaces coexisting in different countries and time zones, meaning it’s almost impossible to have everyone in the same room. In fact, a survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London found that 34% of executives said more than half their company’s full-time employees would be working remotely in 2020. And that number is only going to increase.
The only way to solve this problem is by using technology to communicate and collaborate. Virtual collaboration is here to stay, which means you need to be able to continue to engage and encourage productivity with a virtual team in the same way that you would if everyone was in the same building.
Master this soft skill by using tools like Google Docs, Skype, Time Doctor, Basecamp, Slack and Trello.
The ability to self-direct
The use of outsourcing, freelancers and telecommuting will increase in future workplaces, making it impossible to supervise every employee. What does this mean for you? You’ll need to know how to self-direct. This involves increased responsibility, being self-disciplined and accountable, making important decisions on your own, keeping your cool under pressure, and a high level of self-awareness.
In a study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University on what determines executive success, it was noted that high self-awareness was the “strongest predictor of overall success.”
One popular way to develop this self-awareness is through an examination of the 6 leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman, in his publication: Leadership That Gets Results.
From robots to virtual reality, the future workspace may be nothing like we could ever imagine today.
But as founder of Google, Larry Page says, “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future. I try to focus on that: What is the future really going to be? And how do we create it? And how do we power our organisation to really focus on that and really drive it at a high rate?”
As long as you’re willing to future-proof the way you approach your work, interact with people, and embrace technologies, you’ll have no problem keeping up with the changes to come – and make a massive impression on your future boss while you do.