Reuters/Robert GalbraithEmployees chat at the new headquarters of Facebook in Menlo Park.
In fewer than four years, employers will seek employees with very different skill sets than they do today.
In fact, on average more than one third of the desired skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered important to the job today, according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum.
The report, called “The Future of Jobs,” surveyed executives from more than 350 employers across nine industries in 15 of the world’s largest economies to come up with predictions about how technological advancements will force the labor markets to evolve.
Here’s a look at the top 10 skill sets respondents said will be most in demand by 2020.
10. Cognitive flexibility will continue to be an important skill.
Cognitive flexibility is the ability of being able to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.
It wasn't even a skill in demand in 2015, but will become more important during the next four years.
According to the report, respondents said that a wide range of jobs will require a higher level of cognitive abilities—which include creativity, logical reasoning, and problem sensitivity—as part of the core skill set.
9. Negotiation skills will still be in demand.
In general, social skills are going to become ever more important in the workforce. This makes sense because social skills are still something that, at least for the time being, are uniquely human.
By 2020, negotiation skills will particularly be in high demand in computer and mathematical jobs, such as data analysts and software developers, according to the report.
It will also be key skill in the arts and design job category, which includes commercial and industrial designers.
8. Service orientation skills will be important.
Service orientation is defined in the report as actively looking for ways to help others and it also falls under the social skills umbrella.
According to recent research paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, strong social skills will continue to become more important as robots and automation take more jobs.
"The reason is that computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction. Reading the minds of others and reacting is an unconscious process, and skill in social settings has evolved in humans over thousands of years. Human interaction in the workplace involves team production, with workers playing off of each other’s strengths and adapting flexibly to changing circumstances. Such nonroutine interaction is at the heart of the human advantage over machines," the paper states.
7. Judgment and decision making will become a highly desired skill.
Judgment and decision making was ranked as the 8th most in demand skill in 2015, but it will move up to the 7th spot by 2020.
This particular skill set is considered a "system skill," which is the ability to analyze data to be able to make decisions.
As organization increasingly collect more data, there will be a greater need for employees who have the ability to analyze data and use it to make decisions.
6. Emotional intelligence is another social skill that will be in demand.
Robots may be able to do a lot of jobs, but they still can't read people the way other humans can, at least not yet.
That is why it will become more important for employees to have a higher level of emotional intelligence. The ability to be able to be able to be aware of others' reactions and to understand why they react certain ways will become a necessary skill for workers by 2020.
5. Coordinating with others is another thing robots haven't perfected yet.
Again, this one also falls under the social skill umbrella and entails the ability of being able to adjust actions in relation to others and to collaborate.
4. People management is an ability that will be sought after.
People management entails being able to motivate people, develop employees, and identify the best people for the job.
The report notes that this skill set will be especially in demand for managers in the energy and media industries.
3. Creativity will become a huge quality employers look for.
Creativity will move from the 10th spot in 2015 to the top three skills employers are seeking in 2020.
With the onslaught of new technologies, creative people will be in demand to figure out ways to apply the new technology and create new products and services.
2. Critical thinking is a basic skill that will remain in high demand.
Being able to use logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of different solutions and approaches is a skill that will still be needed even though automation is becoming more prevalent.
1. Complex problem solving continues to be the top skill employers will seek.
Even with the increase in data to help make decisions, people will still need the basic skill of being able to solve complex problems.
Respondents to the survey ranked this skill as the most in demand in 2015 and it will remain the number one most desired skill in 2020.
In fact, 36% of all jobs across all industries are expected to require complex problem-solving abilities as a core skill by 2020, according to the report.
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