What Kind of Competencies Will Tomorrow’s Workforce Need?

With the pandemic’s ongoing impact, finding suitable candidates has become an even greater challenge for businesses. In light of this, Works is using Emerging Talent Competitions to examine these issues.

The rise of digital technology has brought about a substantial change in the way we conduct business. To capitalize on these changes, it is evident that we need to acquire fresh skills and capabilities. Nonetheless, we have yet to clearly identify the exact talents and abilities that will be necessary in this new digital environment.

While we may have some conjectures, assumptions, and informed opinions about who these individuals might be, we cannot be entirely sure. This is especially true in the current global climate, as the pandemic continues to ravage the business landscape. To remain competitive, individuals must quickly adapt to emerging technologies like automation, AI, and robotics, which have gained greater prominence as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

It is natural for employers and employees alike to be inquisitive about the necessary skills and talents for the years ahead. While it is a difficult task to accurately predict these requirements, we can make educated assumptions using relevant indicators.

Identifying the Importance of Competencies

Problem-solving, analysis, presentation, collaboration, time management, computer literacy, and data literacy are commonly acknowledged as indispensable skills for employees in today’s workplace. Consequently, individuals are likely to be able to identify at least two of these competencies that will be highly valued in the coming years.

While it is evident that various skills will remain significant in the future, it is not productive to define them too broadly. Evaluating critical thinking skills is a challenging task, while teaching someone to become a better team player requires effort. Additionally, it is uncertain what programming skills should be prioritized for learning.

There is a broad spectrum of opinions on how to recognize and improve core skills. Hence, precisely defining the required competencies for the new reality is crucial. The first step is to gain an understanding of how the environment is evolving.

The acceleration of digital progress is becoming increasingly evident. To enhance their agility, flexibility, and resilience, modern organizations are rapidly embracing new technologies and digital solutions. These three attributes are crucial for contemporary organizations as they enable them to more effectively adapt to continuously changing demands and difficulties.

With the increasing prevalence of digitalization, companies are adopting automated solutions, Artificial Intelligence algorithms, cloud servers and data science tools. The amalgamation of these technologies has significant implications for the nature of various professions. If certain tasks can now be automated or performed by robots, what can human workers offer to add value?

Automated and intelligent systems are incredibly efficient at analyzing extensive datasets, detecting patterns, and suggesting insights. However, the value of human contributions is underscored when considering these systems. It is up to people to take these ideas further and identify the truly advantageous next steps.

Developing skills that are relevant to digital solutions is vital to identifying the necessary competencies for the future. However, this alone is insufficient to meet the needs of the workforce.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation, we need to take into account other crucial factors. To effectively comprehend and utilize digital solutions, employees must possess a minimum level of digital literacy. Given the growing reliance on digital solutions in the corporate world, it is imperative for employees to be proficient in this domain.

As evident, the new normal requires a certain level of adaptability and agility from both individuals and organizations. The landscape can change rapidly due to the appearance of new technology, trends, crises, and competitors; hence, it is crucial for organizations and employees to remain responsive and adaptable to these alterations. Possessing a flexible attitude is set to be an indispensable skill for future employees.

Identifying the Key Competencies for the New Normal

Based on the previous points I have discussed, it is obvious that any skill which assists individuals in generating value, adapting to the digital environment, and addressing novel challenges and expectations is critical in the contemporary world. However, this statement is somewhat broad and does not offer a precise definition. Thus, it is vital to examine the makeup of these competencies in greater depth.

To begin with, let us scrutinize the proficiencies that may prove advantageous in the future businesses. We should start with the abilities that we currently deem crucial, as we are already realizing that contemporary employment needs technical, social, emotional, and higher cognitive competencies rather than physical and elementary cognitive ones. Our Technical Leadership Program is a great example of this shift, which is empowering women to shape the future of technology.

By harnessing the competencies we presently consider critical, we can extend their reach. This will facilitate the identification of the specific proficiencies that can lead to broader skills. Although this is not an extensive catalogue, some of the key capabilities of today include critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, leadership, and digital literacy.

It is evident that to achieve success, the future workforce must acquire a variety of smaller, more intricate competencies. Therefore, let us explore the kinds of capabilities that can stem from these.

  • Sleuthing or Critical Thinking:

    Logical thinking alone is insufficient to address specific problems; instead, critical thinking involves formal problem-solving and reasoning, along with the ability to identify relevant information, acknowledge biases, and draw associations.
  • Communication:

    Successful communication is integral to professional achievement in any context. In addition to articulating ideas verbally and in writing, one must also have skills in storytelling, synthesis, active listening, and questioning to communicate effectively. It is crucial to develop and refine these skills for future success.
  • Creativity:

    Defining creativity can be tricky, but key skills associated with it include the capacity to approach problems from diverse perspectives and analyze data from numerous sources. Creativity also necessitates imagination, curiosity, and adaptability.
  • Teamwork:

    Working collaboratively with others demands a diverse set of competencies and qualities, including empathy, inclusivity, cooperation, conflict resolution, coaching, empowerment, and negotiation. All of these are crucial for facilitating effective communication and understanding between individuals in any setting.
  • Leadership:

    Some might argue that leadership skills are not necessary for success in the corporate world. However, possessing some level of leadership ability could aid individuals in adapting to the post-pandemic workplace better. This is because leadership involves traits such as honesty, self-motivation, decisiveness, autonomy, optimism, persistence, and the capacity to handle ambiguity, all of which can be advantageous in diverse situations.
  • Digital Competence:

    The most comprehensive skill set is digital competence. This entails that employees need to be well-versed in the latest digital technology, encompassing digital and data literacy, programming, cybersecurity, digital learning and digital ethics.

I acknowledge that not all of the mentioned characteristics are strictly competencies. In reality, some of them may be regarded as attitudes, requiring personal growth rather than professional training. Nevertheless, these traits will become progressively crucial in the future workplace.

Corporate leaders may find it daunting to provide their employees with the requisite blend of proficiencies and abilities to guarantee their success in the future. However, these skills should be seen as an opportunity for development rather than an obstacle to overcome. Leaders and their teams should aim to reach this horizon.

By identifying the crucial competencies for future success, you can develop valuable and relevant training programmes to reskill and upskill your team members. Although it may appear challenging, accepting this is the only way to progress and adapt to the current scenario.

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