Once upon a time, you could make yourself more promotable by simply taking a class or learning a new software program. But in today’s fast-changing workplace?
It takes a lot more to get ahead.
In addition to continually developing new skills and learning new ways of operating, you also need a modern set of “soft” skills. Factors driving soft skills changes include:
- the rise of smart machines and, as a consequence, exponential growth in humans’ ability to collect, synthesize and analyze data;
- changes in media and communications (especially in the digital arena);
- dramatic increases in global interconnections;
- and increased longevity.
How can you get tomorrow’s soft job skills, today?
To stay relevant and boost your chances for promotion, make sure you’re developing these top skills (some of which may surprise you) that employers will want in 2020 (as forecast in the Institute for the Future’s report):
Sense-making. Smart machines may be doing more of the “grunt” work traditionally done by humans, but they haven’t taken us over just yet. Humans have irreplaceable discernment abilities, especially where ambiguity exists – and employers want smart people who can create meaning from the data machines give us.
Social intelligence. Humans also understand and interpret emotions in ways that machines simply can’t. So, not surprisingly, Individuals with high EQ or social intelligence will continue to be a huge asset in the workplace for years to come.
Flexible thinking. Opportunities may be declining in middle-skill jobs, due to a combination of automation and offshoring. People who are adept at shifting the way they react to unexpected or changing circumstances, however, will be at a premium in coming decades.
Cross-cultural competencies. In a globally connected world, companies must embrace diversity to thrive. In this context, cross-cultural competency is more than the ability to speak foreign languages (although it certainly helps); it’s the ability to appreciate and develop connections across cultural boundaries.
These skills may sound a bit off-putting, but don’t be intimidated…
These are skills you can develop, starting today.
Competing in tomorrow’s digital, global economy will sound decision-making, problem-solving, critical-thinking and learning abilities. But quite honestly, you may already possess many of these skills! Take stock of your current hard and soft skills, and compare them to what will be needed in your chosen field over the next five to 10 years.