We live in a world of rapid changes. New industries constantly appear, the old ones become obsolete. The World Economic Forum report showed that almost 65% of the jobs that senior graduates are preparing for will cease to exist in the future. The labor force and our knowledge are rapidly changing and developing. In combination with the effects of technological automation of workplaces, there is an important question: what skills will be required for future generations?
The expert in the field of education, Tony Wagner, spent his whole life on finding the answer to this question. Exploring the education segment, interviewing industry leaders and studying the global workforce, Wagner identified seven survival skills in the future. These are the skills that people will need to unlock their full potential.
Critical thinking and problem solving
We spend a lot of time teaching students how to answer questions, but we neglect teaching how to ask questions. Asking a question – a good question – is extremely necessary for critical thinking. Before you can solve the problem, you must be able to critically analyze and ask what led to this problem. Therefore, critical thinking and problem solving often accompany each other.
Wagner notes that the workforce is organized today is not at all the same as it was several years ago. Now we see that different groups are working on concrete problems, and not individual people. Now the manager does not have answers to all the questions – we’ll have to work to find them.
First of all, it is these skills that pave the way for innovation. We need to be able to challenge the status quo and criticize it so that we can innovate and prescribe alternatives.
Interconnection and leadership influence
One of the major trends today is the growth of the contingent of the workforce. Over the next five years, non-permanent and remote workers are expected to account for 40% of the total workforce in the average company. We see a growing percentage of full-time employees working on the cloud. Transnational corporations allow employees to work in different offices around the world.
Technologies allow working and cooperating people without borders, and this is extremely interesting. But the digital interaction between networks and individuals from completely different layers shows that our youth need to be trained specifically for it. According to the education report of New Horizons, we must see a growing global emphasis on networking in a network where “digital tools are used to support curricula and intercultural understanding is promoted”.
In this context, leadership within the team ceases to be a downward power structure, from the leader to the subordinates, but rather the leadership influence. Teams work towards a common goal, not obeying a specific leader, but rather moving under the influence of certain parts of the team.
Dexterity and adaptability
We live in a complex world of ambition and uncertainty. It is extremely important to be able to adapt and refine strategies. For many years our education and working thinking have been adjusted to routine and strictly regulated procedures. We learned how to do something once, and then did it again and again. Learning became a habit. But what if learning never ended? Would it be convenient for us to work in such conditions?
In the post-industrial era, the impact of technology means that we need to be flexible and adaptive to the unpredictable consequences of progress. We will have to learn on the fly and constantly adjust our skills, refusing obsolete and unnecessary.
Initiative and enterprise
Traditionally, students take the initiative in addition to working at the university. For most students, developing a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial skills is often part of their extracurricular activities. By focusing on short-term tests and knowledge, most of the curricula were not designed to inspire innovators and creators.
Do we teach young leadership? Do we encourage the initiative? Pushing to the solution of world problems? Wagner found out that even in corporate conditions, business leaders can not easily find employees who will constantly seek new opportunities, ideas and strategies for implementation.
Effective oral and written communication
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills study showed that about 89% of respondents among employers believe that high school graduates, entrants, have “unsatisfactory” communication skills.
Clear communication is not only a matter of the correct use of language and grammar. In many ways, communication is the continuation of clear thinking. Can you competently expound your arguments? Can you passionately inspire others? Can you summarize the main points of what you are trying to say? Can you sell or promote the product?
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson once said: “Communication is the most important skill for any