Just over a decade ago, Facebook was in its infancy, Twitter was being developed, and nobody had iPhones! It comes as no surprise, that the world we live in, is changing at an accelerating pace – and so too, is the world of work. Jobs exist today, that we’d never heard of a decade ago (think Social Media Manager, App Developer, Chief People Experience Officer, Uber Driver). In fact, it has been estimated that more than half of the children entering primary school today, will ultimately end up working in jobs that we’ve not even considered yet (World Economic Forum, 2016 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/10-jobs-that-didn-t-exist-10-years-ago/).

In order to thrive in the future, we need to ensure that organisations are equipped with talent that will be able to adapt to the ever-changing environment. But, ‘talent’ no longer means the same as ten years ago; many of the roles, skills and job titles of tomorrow are unknown to us today. So, how can organisations prepare their workforce for a future that few of us can define?

Let’s begin by looking at what’s driving the change:

  1. We are living longer and working past the traditional retirement age – these demographic shifts are changing the size and distribution of the workforce, which is putting pressure on business models, and workforce planning. Workers will continuously need to learn new skills, and work for longer, so organisations need to rethink traditional career paths and to create more diversity and flexibility in learning and development.
  2. We are entering a new kind of partnership with machines – machines and advances in technology have the power to improve our lives, increasing productivity and improving wellbeing (by automating menial tasks), but organisations will need to establish new expectations and standards of performance to reflect the fact that technology is augmenting and extending human capabilities.
  3. We are living amongst an unprecedented torrent of data – the amount of data we produce every day is truly mind-boggling. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, but that pace is accelerating. In the last two years alone, 90 percent of the data in the world was generated (Marr, 2019). Organisations will need to identify and decode data into meaningful insights, as well as manage the data they produce and share with the world.
  4. We are using new media to connect and communicate with each other – until only recently, the workplace was a physical space, where employees came together to work and communicated via email, typically between 9AM – 5PM. Now, we work across multiple locations and geographical boundaries, so organisations need to ensure they are providing the technology to facilitate connection and collaboration, at scale (and on any device).
  5. We are working across geographic borders as countries around the world emerge as major powers, we are witnessing an increase in competition, and access to more resources, knowledge and talent. Organisations need to ensure their workforce is diverse and adaptable to facilitate exchange and integration across the globe.

Our new workplaces will demand a new set of skills. And as a new decade begins, it’s critical we revisit The World Economic Forum Report’s Top Ten Critical Skills, for 2020 – are you hiring for these skills?

1. Creativity: the ability to adopt a new way of thinking and to generate novel solutions, using disparate information.

2. Emotional Intelligence: the ability to connect and collaborate with large groups of people, in different contexts (e.g. project-based teams) and locations (e.g. geographically dispersed teams).

3. Complex Problem Solving: the ability to solve novel, ill-defined and multi-dimensional* problems (*many of today’s global problems, are too complex to be solved by one specialised discipline).

4. Judgement and Decision Making: the ability to make sense of vast amounts of data and to use meaningful insights to make decisions.

5. Cognitive Flexibility: the ability to discriminate and filter for important information; the ability to maximise cognitive functions and minimise cognitive overload; the ability to take on challenges, learn from mistakes and actively seek new knowledge.

6. Critical Thinking: the ability to use logic and reasoning, and to evaluate data; the ability to evaluate different options and approaches.

7. People Management: the ability to inspire, influence and drive engagement in teams (including the ability to lead and motivate a geographically dispersed team/a virtual team).

8. Coordinating with Others: the ability to work productively with individuals and teams; the ability to communicate effectively with others to achieve shared goals.

9. Service Orientation: the ability to understand the end user and to anticipate their needs.

10. Negotiation: the ability to seek perspective and to compromise; the ability to achieve the best possible outcome through influence and persuasion.

Organisations must ensure they are attracting, identifying and selecting these critical skills so they will be able to adapt to the ever-changing world. Ultimately, preparing your workforce for the future, starts today – ensure you create a competitive advantage, through your people.


’10 Jobs that Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago’, (2016) World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/10-jobs-that-didn-t-exist-10-years-ago/.

‘Future Work Skills 2020’, Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute.

‘How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind Blowing Stats  Everyone Should Read’, Bernard Marr, Forbes (2018) https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/05/21/how-much-data-do-we-create-every-day-the-mind-blowing-stats-everyone-should-read/#3b4c372660ba.

‘The 10 Vital Skills You Will Need For The Future Of Work’, Bernard Marr, Forbes (2019) https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/04/29/the-10-vital-skills-you-will-need-for-the-future-of-work/#5069ec9e3f5b.

‘The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills, and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, (2016) World Economic Forum Report.

‘The Top 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020’, Top Ten Online Colleges, https://www.top10onlinecolleges.org/work-skills-2020/.

‘Workforce of the Future 2030: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030’, PwC.

Revelian Kirsten Forgione
Kirsten Forgione | Manager, Consulting Psychologist

Kirsten is a Consulting Psychologist at Revelian. She supports organisations to get powerful insights from psychometric assessments so they can make better people decisions. Kirsten is passionate about human behaviour at work, particularly in the assessment and development of individuals, teams and organisations. She has consulting experience spanning both public and private sectors in psychometric assessment, leadership and talent strategy and organisational development.