Professor Klaus Schwab

Greater technology adoption will mean that in-demand skills across jobs change over the next five years, and skills gaps will continue to be high. Therefore, we’ve analyzed the top 10 skills in demand.

For those workers who stay in their roles, the share of core skills will change by 2025 is 40%, and 50% of all employees will need reskilling (up to 4%).

Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in five years. These have been consistent since the first report in 2016.

But newly emerging this year are skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility.

Let’s categorize skills into the following four groups

Then five out of the top 10 work skills in growing demand by 2025 are related to Problem-solving, ex aequo Self-management with Technology use and development scored two positions and only one Working with people. Refer to the list below: 

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation – [Problem-solving]
  2. Active learning and learning strategies [Self-management]
  3. Complex problem-solving [Problem-solving]
  4. Critical thinking and analysis [Problem-solving]
  5. Creativity, originality, and initiative [Problem-solving]
  6. Leadership and social influence [Working with people]
  7. Technology use, monitoring, and control [Technology use and development]
  8. Technology design and programming [Technology use and development] 
  9. Resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility [Self-management]
  10. Reasoning. problem-solving, and ideation [Problem-solving]

This year, data from LinkedIn and online learning platform Coursera has allowed the Forum to track the types of specialized skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, which are in demand across multiple emerging professions.

Among these ‘cross-cutting’ skills are specialized skills in product marketing, digital marketing, and human-computer interaction.

How long will reskilling take?

Most business leaders (94%) now expect employees to pick up new skills – a sharp rise from 65% in 2018.

Respondents to the Future of Jobs Survey estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling for six months or less, but that number is higher for those in the consumer and health healthcare industries.

In the financial services and energy sectors, the share of workers who can be reskilled within six months is lower because they will need more time-intensive programs.

Training will be delivered internally, according to 39% of employers. But, as Professor Schwab noted, this will be supplemented by online learning platforms (16% of training) and external consultants (11% of activity).

The pandemic has accelerated the trend of online reskilling. This year, Coursera saw a fourfold increase in people seeking out opportunities themselves between April and June.

Employers providing online learning opportunities for their workers increased fivefold, and there was a ninefold enrolment increase for learners accessing online resources through government programs.

The platform says it could take just one to two months to acquire one of its top 10 mastery skills in emerging professions across people and culture, content writing, and sales and marketing.

It could take two to three months for learners to expand their skills in product development and data and AI. At the same time, a four-month learning program could help people move into roles in cloud and engineering.

The report notes that such figures suggest that although learning a new skill set is increasingly accessible through digital technologies, individuals will also need the time and funding to pursue new opportunities.

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