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Future skills in the workplace

18/01/2024 2024/01

Today's society, and therefore the labour market, is strongly influenced by ongoing digitalisation and technologisation. Artificial intelligence, automation and big data are having a profound impact on various areas of life. At the same time, we are experiencing increasing global interconnectedness, which is intensifying not only trade but also cultural and social exchanges.

Flexibility and teleworking have become increasingly important in the world of work and traditional job profiles are changing. New demands are being placed on employees, requiring not only specialist knowledge but also future skills such as creativity, adaptability and teamwork. It is important to keep abreast of these developments in order to position oneself successfully in an ever-changing society and world of work.

What are future skills?

"Future skills are the skills and qualifications that people need to be successful in an ever-changing and increasingly digitalised world of work. They are designed to meet the needs and challenges of the future in different occupations and sectors. In general, future skills encompass both technical and soft skills. As a study by the Stifterverband and McKinsey shows, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a wave of digitalisation in the German training market. While 35 % of courses were digital before the pandemic, this figure has now risen to more than half (54 %). The study also highlights the importance of clear training strategies to meet the growing demand for future skills.

Top future skills in detail

Creativity and innovation

In the rapidly changing world of work, creativity and the ability to innovate will be essential skills of the future. Companies that want to successfully adapt to new challenges are increasingly looking for employees who can develop original ideas and present innovative solutions. Creativity goes beyond traditional ways of thinking and makes it possible to respond proactively to change. The ability to innovate, coupled with creative thinking, creates space for breakthrough ideas that strengthen a company's competitive advantage.

Digital skills and technology literacy

In a digitalised working world, these future skills are naturally of particular importance. As is the case today, companies will continue to look for skilled workers who are not only familiar with modern technologies, but who can also use them flexibly and innovatively. Digital skills, ranging from an understanding of big data to the ability to navigate virtual working environments, are key skills of the future.

Problem solving expertise

In situations characterised by high complexity, opacity and constant change, the development of a strategic approach is crucial. It is about developing the ability to deal with multiple objectives simultaneously and to prioritise them accordingly. Rather than trying to process all the information at once, we should try to unravel the complex web. Our aim should be to cut through the thicket of information so that we can get a clear picture of reality and deal with it effectively. In the future, employees will be expected not only to identify problems, but also to develop creative and effective solutions. This strategic focus will enable us to stay focused and act in a dynamic and complex environment.

Communication and team skills

The future of work means a significant shift from fixed team structures to flexible project teams. In these teams, individuals must not only complement each other professionally, but also work together effectively from a social perspective. Skills such as communication, teamwork and empathy play a crucial role. Communication skills are fundamental because they promote emotional closeness to other people and enable relationships to develop. This, in turn, forms the basis for effective teamwork, which has a significant impact on the creative and constructive interaction of working groups. An essential element of this interaction is empathy, the ability and willingness to put oneself in another's shoes. After all, true team players don't just act from their own ego perspective, they bring empathy to the collaboration.

Flexibility and adaptability

In the ever-changing world of work, flexibility and adaptability will also be key skills in the future. Successful professionals will not only have specific expertise, but also the willingness to adapt to new situations and technologies. These adaptations inevitably create uncertainty, stress and a lack of stability. Meeting these challenges will only be possible if we actively work to strengthen our resilience. Resilience is the key to responding flexibly to change, managing uncertainty and thriving in dynamic work environments.

Emotional Intelligence

In tomorrow's rapidly changing workplace, employees need to understand their own emotions and manage the emotions of others in a constructive way. A high level of emotional intelligence not only strengthens interpersonal relationships in the workplace, but also makes a significant contribution to operating successfully in a dynamic and networked work environment. Understanding individual feelings, both your own and those of other team members, is particularly important in dynamic team structures. As a valuable team player, this is also a crucial future skill in the context of digital collaboration. The intention to offer help and create a supportive environment will be a key factor in the success of teams in the future.

A team of experts works together on a project
A team of experts works together on a project

Successfully strengthening future skills

By taking a proactive approach to developing and improving your future skills, you can lay the foundations for individual career success. The first step is self-reflection through an honest assessment of one's own skills and setting clear goals for personal and professional development. Continuing education and training opportunities, whether in the form of online courses or classroom sessions, provide an ideal opportunity to deepen one's knowledge of relevant topics such as digitalisation, creativity and teamwork.

Putting what you learn into practice is just as important as networking and teamwork. By actively participating in projects, you can not only apply your future skills, but also make professional contacts. Flexibility and adaptability can also be developed by consciously facing new situations and seeing change as an opportunity. Developing emotional intelligence, including the ability to empathise and understand one's own emotions, helps to interact successfully in a networked work environment. A willingness to develop resilience and accept failure as part of the learning process is also essential.

And now there is just one final question: Are you ready to embark on your professional career path with the help of your future skills?

About the Author
Sally Kießling
Employer Branding Consultant

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