The top 10 skills you’ll need in 2025

By Kayleigh Tanner

The World Economic Forum recently published their prediction of the top 10 skills workers - and organizations - will need in 2025 - and they might not all be the skills you might expect.

The events of 2020 and the global pandemic have driven widespread change across sectors around the world. From small independent businesses to international giants, every organization worldwide has felt the impact of rapid change and uncertainty. In fact, by 2025, the hours of work performed by humans and machines will be equal, showing the massive impact of automation. 

Automation, digitization and rapid change will bring with it a whole host of new job roles - particularly around data analysis, process automation and information security. In contrast, we will see the decline of roles focusing on data entry, assembly and factory work and stock-keeping, many of which will be replaced by automated processes.

While the loss of certain job roles may seem alarming, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, if you’re working in a role likely to be affected by the impact of automation, digitization and the changing world of work, there are plenty of skills you can work on right now to help you reskill and stay relevant, ranging from technical skills to problem solving and soft skills. 

A black and white photo of colleagues in a meeting

1. Analytical thinking and innovation

In an increasingly complex world, the ability to think analytically is crucial. It’s never too early for your people to learn how to analyze the challenges arising in their roles, the wider business context and how to combat them. Analytical thinking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but the good news is that you can build it into your learning program to benefit virtually everyone in your workforce.

2. Active learning and learning strategies

It may seem surprising that “learning how to learn” makes the list, but any HR professional knows that simply delivering a learning program is not enough to ensure people really learn. Embracing informal learning via your learning experience platform (LXP) is a great place to start encouraging your employees to ask questions, share knowledge and collaborate on projects.

3. Complex problem solving

It shouldn’t come as a shock that the problems we face in the workplace are becoming increasingly complex. The ability to figure out those tough challenges is only going to become more important in the coming years. Gamification is a great way to help your people develop their problem solving skills and think differently about the challenges they face every day.

4. Critical thinking and analysis

Critical thinking skills are invaluable for people in every role. Critical thinking is about “connecting the dots” and thinking clearly and rationally about the problems you might encounter. A computer can only go so far - very often you need the human touch of critical thought and analysis to really get to the bottom of your challenges.

5. Creativity, originality and initiative

Creativity is very difficult, if not currently impossible, to automate. Computers can “be creative” to some extent (they can even write passable articles), but they can’t understand nuance, or intangible values such as branding, tone or specific approaches. Creativity and originality will always be valuable for workers, so these skills should be honed in order to stay relevant in the years to come.

6. Leadership and social influence

While you can buy followers on social media, this isn’t the same as social influence. Real social influence comes from building up a reputation and relationships over time. It’s not easy, but once you’ve earned that influence, it becomes an invaluable tool in your kit. The same applies to leadership - being respected as a leader is earned with time and effort, as well as a healthy dose of charisma and people skills.

7. Technology use, monitoring and control

Unsurprisingly, technology skills will be vital for workers going forward. Getting to grips with technology quickly, understanding how it’s used and being able to impart this wisdom to others will soon be vital in every sector, if it isn’t already, as will the ability to monitor the use of technology in your organization.

8. Technology design and programming

The amount of technology available to you is increasing exponentially, and it’s crucial that your people know how to make it work for you. Technology design and programming skills will ensure that you can tailor your technology solutions to your needs, or even create your own solutions.

9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility

The events of 2020 exposed the need for resilience and flexibility in the workplace. Staying calm under pressure, rolling with the punches and not letting stress overwhelm you has never been more vital. Employee wellbeing programs should be built into your employee engagement strategy to help your people build the resilience they need to thrive in the coming years.

10. Reasoning, problem solving and ideation

When the work environment is changing rapidly, your people need the skills to generate ideas and assess how to move forward in difficult circumstances. One way to improve ideation skills is with live brainstorming workshops or dedicated online workspaces for coming up with ideas to improve processes and approaches. Other employees can then build on their colleagues' ideas and point out what works, what doesn’t and how to refine ideas to make them viable.

Ready to take the next step in preparing for the new world of work? Take a look at the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020 to find out what your workplace might look like in 2025, and download our five workplace disruptors ebook for the practical steps you can take right now to prepare.