Back to the “Skills of the Future”

For years, the “future of work” has been on the horizon.

And discussed and projected by august groups, like the World Economic Forum, who promoted skills like technology use, monitoring and control, and technology design and programming.

But, who knew, we were just one pandemic away from pushing “fast forward” on working from home, and implementing a host of “skills of the future.”

Hi, I’m Mimi Grant, president of the ABL Organization.

“The 2020 Cornerstone Global Research Report,” concedes that in recent years, “Talent leaders have prioritized ‘hard’ skills like data analytics and programming, rather than ‘soft’ skills like creativity and collaboration.” But, COVID has quickly shifted the recipe… “toward a mix of hard and soft skills,” with organizations fostering an environment in which “real innovation stems from soft skills like creativity and curiosity in addition to STEM skills.“

Technical skills, it seems, can be more easily learned on the job, while interpersonal skills and agility are more difficult to teach.

And agility, is obviously a key to embracing uncertainty.”

As Bernadette Wightman, a Managing Director at BT (formerly British Telecom), summarized at the World Economic Forum, “As demand for mathematics, computing and data analysis grows, so too will the need for human attributes like creativity, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation.”

For the Report, the Cornerstone research team surveyed business leaders from 500 global companies, and 1,000 employees from industries skewing towards tech, banking, finance, insurance, and manufacturing.

Yet, one key finding was, for employees, “People are taking charge of their own careers and demanding more, as they realize the market is no longer an employer market but an employee market,” according to Meredith Taghi, VP of Deutsche Post DHL.

What’s more, 66% of the survey’s employee respondents said that “meaningful work” was “extremely or very important” when choosing an employer to work for, compared to 65% who said the same for “competitive pay.”

Looking towards the future, the plurality of employers and employees alike want employees to develop technology skills.

Yet, when asked which skills were most important to their firms in the past, the top skills mentioned were: agility and adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and learning new skills, which “may suggest that employers look for soft skills when making hiring decisions, but look to hard skills when making development decisions.”

And, we’ll look to help you develop your leadership skills at ABL!

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