3 Critical Skills You Need to Thrive in a Workforce of the Future

Technology advances are occurring all around us at every moment and it’s amazing how far it’s come in just a few short years. If we’re not listening and watching for these changes we will be left behind, particularly if we don’t possess the right skills required to work in our future world.

Thankfully, according to a new research report The New Work Smarts by the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA), three critical skills have been identified to ensure thrive in a workforce of the future.

The Report explains that with a greater focus on automation and globalisation than ever before, we will need a specific skill set in order to thrive in a digitally changing environment. Further, the Report suggests workers will spend almost 100% of their time on solving problems rather than doing routine, manual tasks.

What is automation?

Automation is already here. From chatbots that provide customer service to control systems that operate machinery, the use of technology to complete simple tasks or processes is only going to expand. The stories of how robots are going to take our jobs may have some truth to it! But history tells us that technology and automation tend to create and change jobs. We just need to adapt.

What is globalisation?

Globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and governments of different nations around the world.

The New Work Smarts Report suggests by 2030 every job in our country will change. The Report predicts that there will be a reduction in the need for workers to complete routine, manual tasks and there will be an increase in the time workers spend focussing on people, solving strategic problems and thinking creatively.

Some occupations will decline while other new jobs emerge, all the while technology, automation and globalisation will continue to advance.

The extract below summarises just how influential technology will become in streamlining future processes.

For example a future pharmacy assistant; technology will likely cut the time spent on store admin (like stocktaking and ordering) from 22 hours a week to 6 hours by 2030, allowing assistants to spend substantially more time on digital tasks, such as updating the business website, developing an online shopping app and analysing monthly sales data. 

To conduct The New Work Smarts Report, FYA gained insights from analysing over 20 billion hours of work completed by 12 million Australian workers each year.  By matching the work-related skills required in more than 400 occupations with the actual activities performed in those jobs, FYA were able to determine what skills would likely matter most in the future. The study shed light on insights such as how many hours we currently use our skills during work hours and what skills are more important than others.

It’s predicted that, on average, workers will spend:

  • 30% more time per week learning on-the-job skills
  • 100% of their time on solving problems
  • 41% on critical thinking and judgement
  • 77% more time will be spent on science and math skills
  • Up to seven hours a week on verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • A greater focus on obtaining and developing an entrepreneurial mindset due to having less management, less organisational coordination and teaching.

The Report continues to offer a unique perspective of how we can compete in this changing work environment. Rather than responding to automation by choosing the ‘right’ job, we need to acquire the ‘right’ skill set that will allow us to adapt and succeed.

The Report unlocks a number of critical skills that people will need to thrive in the future world of work:

  1. Smart thinking; you’ll need to be an excellent problem solver, critical thinker and communicator. You’ll also need to know how to navigate your way around science, maths and technology. As repetitive and administrative tasks become automated, you will need strong enterprise skills to see new opportunities and communicate options to others.
  2. Smart doing; you’ll need an entrepreneurial mindset. As we begin to work more flexibly and independently we need to rely less on being managed and directed. You’ll need to know how to think and respond on your feet when dealing with such things as clients, risk and opportunity.
  3. Smart learning; you’ll need to spend more time learning on the job. Continuous learning will be a part of everyday engagement at work. This means you will need to constantly respond to new data, information and technology when making decisions and performing your job.

These skills will be transferable between jobs so you can remain fluid and have flexibility throughout different industries.

The Report also states that employers are already demanding many of these critical skills. An analysis of millions of online job ads showed that employers are already expecting and paying a premium for these transferrable enterprise skills in entry level roles. Demand for digital skills went up 212% over the last three years, while critical thinking increased 158%, creativity increased by 65% and presentation skills by 25%.

As we begin to move into the future we must remember to be comfortable with change and start to think more independently and entrepreneurially in order to survive the future world of work.

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