In 1988, the American Society for Research and Development conducted a two-year long study on workplace basics and the skills that employers seek in candidates for hire. The study pointed to skills like learning skills, basic reading and writing abilities, and listening and oral communication. Other areas, such as the ability to work in a team, leadership, and personal management were also among some of the strengths the study found to be essential.
Today, when indicating your skills on your resume, some of those skill areas may be in line with the 1988 study. On Monster’s sample functional resume, “written correspondence,” “report preparation,” and “project management” are among the strengths included. However, you also see additional talents like “computer savvy” and “professional presentations” on today’s resume. Many jobs look for proficiency in specific computer software, like Excel or Visual Basic. Others may want a candidate who is a hard salesperson, who can cold-call on clients and bring in net new business.
In the future, what will the job market be like? With the rate at which technology evolves, in five to ten years from now, employers may look for an entirely different skill set. Using data from a report by the Institute for The Future (IFTF), coupled with information from reports by the Missouri P-20 Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have developed this list of seven skills for future professionals:
1. Socially intelligent
The ability to understand others, get along well with those around you, and act and react appropriately in various situations is essential in today’s workplace. But, in the future workplace, this social intelligence may set you apart from a different type of competition — mechanized competition. Your ability to engage in conversation, get to know someone personally, and develop meaningful relationships will provide a competitive edge over the future, more professional versions of today’s companion robots.
Adaptability is a trait that is absolutely critical for the future professional. In Missouri, for instance, 60 percent of its 2025 workforce are already working today. Over the next decade and beyond, employees have to adjust to a mass of changes, technological or otherwise, without missing a beat.
3. Able to work on a virtual team
Over the next several years, it may become more common for you to complete projects with team members remotely, from other locations. A business may decide to place you with its best graphic designer, best marketing director, and best project manager on a project, and instead of flying you all to the same location, save costs by assigning you the task of completing the project virtually.
As future virtual team members, you should be able to quickly and clearly communicate expectations and foster a social environment where no one feels isolated.
4. Bilingual or multilingual
The economy today is more global than ever. Since WWII, world trade has increased a thousand-fold and businesses have locations in other countries. In the future, even more businesses will expand their operations overseas and knowing a second or third language, such as Mandarin or Spanish, can only set you apart from the future competition.
5. Cross-culturally adept
In addition to knowing other languages, the future worker should also be able to learn and adapt to different cultural norms. Whether a career brings you to another country, or diversity increases within your office, being someone your employer can rely on to represent your company is an invaluable skill.
Workplace projects and problems are complex, even today. Today’s nurse not only has to know medical knowledge, but also needs to know how to use advanced medical machinery and computer software, for instance. An architect needs to know CAD and photo imaging, in addition to having a talent for creating drawings of structures.
In the future, possessing skills and knowledge in more than one subject area will become increasingly important, especially considering the increase in multifaceted problems like overpopulation and energy conservation.
There is a multitude of research and data available at the click of a button. Computing power is only going to increase over the next five to ten years and the more information you can access, and the faster the rate at which you can access it, the better you have to hone your skills at sorting through and analyzing this information.