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Management Consulting & Training


The 10 Most Important Job Skills for 2020

Posted on October 3, 2018 at 3:55 PM


What skills are the most important for employees and job seekers to develop?

In 2016, the World Economic Forum -- the group behind the annual conference of leaders in business, politics, and more in Davos, Switzerland -- posed this question to Chief Human Resource Officers and other senior talent and strategy executives from 371 leading global employers. The" target="_blank">report argued that wide adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics over the next years will change what employers expect of workers. Here are the 10 most important skills they said employees and job seekers should have by the year 2020, in order of importance. 

1 - Complex Problem Solving - "Developed capacities used to solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings." - Artificial intelligence technologies likely will increasingly take over simple problem solving activities at work - e.g., looking up account information or setting up appointments on a calendar. The most complex problems will be left for the people at work to solve.

How to Prepare -> Get" target="_blank">training in complex problem solving for yourself and your team.

2 - Critical Thinking - "Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems." - Fast moving changes in technology are making business processes and strategies more complex. People will need critical thinking skills to find opportunities for improvement in the face of this complexity.

How to Prepare -> Get" target="_blank">training in critical thinking skills for yourself and your team.  

3 - Creativity - "The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem." - Not everyone is born as a Picasso, but everyone can work to grow their own creative skills. One way to offer more creative ideas at work is to find creative ideas in other areas that may apply.


How to Prepare -> Stoke your curiosity by seeking lessons from things outside of your work that may give you inspiration at work. Read great books. Seek new experiences. Meet new people. Find other" target="_blank">ways to spark your creativity.


4 - People Management - "Motivating, developing and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job." - As long as there are people in the workplace, there will need to be other people there to recruit and manage them. You can't outsource people management to computers.


How to Prepare -> Seek opportunities to gain people management experience in your current role. Get" target="_blank">training in people management.


5 - Coordinating with Others - "Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions." - Rigid hierarchies and organizational "silos" are out in the workplace. Cross-functional, ad hoc teams are in. To succeed, people need to be able to work in a more ad hoc manner and coordinate with people across functions and departments. Communication and planning skills will be key.


How to Prepare -> Get training in project management skills. 

6 - Emotional Intelligence - "Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do." - As artificial intelligence takes over more responsibilities for simple processes at work, relationship-centered work will be reserved for humans in the office. As products and services get more complex, the ability to explain and sell them to other people will be essential as well. Being able to read and react to customers' and colleagues' reactions will be an increasingly important skill in relationship-centered jobs.


How to Prepare -> Read up on Emotional Intelligence. Take an assessment of your Emotional Intelligence to identify areas for improvement. 

7 - Judgment and Decision-Making - "Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one." - Artificial intelligence will continue to take over responsibility for more decision-making in the workplace. Eventually, only the hardest, "gray-area" issues will be left to people to decide. Being able to weigh trade offs and risks of different options will be a key skill to develop.


How to Prepare -> Seek roles that allow you to gain experience in decision-making. Get training in decision-making.  

8 - Service Orientation - "Actively looking for ways to help people." - Have you ever called a service line and just wanted to escalate enough to talk to a person instead of a robot? You are not alone. Being able to give a human touch while working real-time with customers to help them solve their problems is a timeless skill.


How to Prepare -> Get out and talk to real customers to understand their needs. Seek roles that give you live interaction with customers.  

9 - Negotiation - "Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences." - There will always be differences of opinions, trade-offs, and a competing priorities in the workplace. People who can find compromises that are acceptable to all parties will always be in demand.


How to Prepare -> Get training in negotiation skills.


10 - Cognitive Flexibility - "The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways." - One constant we can expect in the future of the workplace is change. Another constant is the need to manage many different things at once. People who can find and apply new frameworks to quickly understand and shift between changes will be a step ahead.


How to Prepare -> Do" target="_blank">exercises to improve your cognitive flexibility.

Categories: Career Planning, Coaching, Performance Management