The world of work is perpetually evolving.  As the development of AI and digital technologies adds to this rapid evolution, today’s workforce will need to keep up with the changes by learning new skills and adapting as new occupations appear. Arguably, the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked this transformation. 

Here, Chris Rooum, our Head of Professional Services, talks about his career experiences and reviews what future skill requirements appear on the horizon, how you can keep up with changes by upskilling and how organisations can recruit for skills, rather than experience.

Personal Experience

From my own experience, you do not have to stay in one career for your whole life anymore. In fact, as long ago as 2017 a report in the Financial Times suggested that individuals should plan for 5 careers over a lifetime – I can only imagine this number has increased since then.

My own jobs have included Bank Management Trainee, Civil Servant, Pub Manager, Recruiter and Waste Disposal Operative! From each of these previous roles, I have developed skills that have assisted me in my subsequent careers.

As a recruiter, I rely on my organisational skills from the bank, my analytical skills as a civil servant, my social skills as a pub manager and my resilience as a refuse collector – running around in all weathers as a 15-year-old all day tends to build a mental toughness!

Having sat down recently with Rob Barton-Ancliffe, a Careers Advisor with Cheltenham Jobcentre, it’s clear that there is a need for those unemployed (and in certain circumstances those currently employed) to invest time in reskilling; with investment in reskilling people to access the competencies they need to get the job they want – whatever their stage in life as a part of a cross-government campaign called ‘Skills for Life’. I was not previously aware of this programme, however, there are many resources available with no cost to assist with individuals who want to bridge their own skill gaps.

On the ‘Skills for Life’ website you can undertake a skills assessment, find courses and explore careers. This resource may also be useful for those finishing their studies soon and those who have not decided what they want to do as yet!

Future skills

According to the Future of Jobs 2020 report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) by 2025, workers across the world faced the “double disruption” of job losses caused by increased automation and the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, which could displace an estimated 85 million jobs.

Though 97 million new roles are likely to be created during this period, some workers will need to be reskilled and upskilled to take them on. Skills gaps will therefore continue to be high in the run-up to 2025, the report said.

To plug skills gaps, on average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will need reskilling of six months or less while 94% of business leaders surveyed said they expected employees to pick up new skills on the job, up from 65% in 2018, it added.

Top skills

The data for the WEF report was collected over a nine-month period from January to September 2020. Its dataset contains 291 unique responses by global companies, collectively representing more than 7.7 million employees worldwide which reported that the Top 15 skills of 2025 are as follows:

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning and learning strategies
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Creativity, originality and initiative
  6. Leadership and social influence
  7. Technology use, monitoring and control
  8. Technology design and programming
  9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  10. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  11. Emotional intelligence
  12. Troubleshooting and user experience
  13. Service orientation
  14. Systems analysis and evaluation
  15. Persuasion and negotiation

On an emotional level, this is satisfying for both parties, and over time, this will help you to become an Many of these skills are consistent with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), who suggested that the jobs predicted to see the most growth and demand are:

Computer & Mathematical Occupations (especially developers, analysts, programmers, and information security analysts)

Healthcare & Healthcare Support (especially mental health professionals, technicians and diagnosticians, nurses, personal care and service, and home health aides)

Counsellors & Therapists (especially physical, respiratory, or marriage and family therapists, substance abuse counsellors, social workers, and speech and language therapists)

Marketing Professionals (especially market research analysts and marketing specialists)

Construction Trades (especially niche specialists)

Media & Communication Workers (especially video operators and editors, interpreters and translators)

Operations Specialties (financial managers, computer information systems managers)

Recruiting for Skills

According to Personio’s How Businesses Risk a Post Pandemic Talent Drain report,  38% of employees in the UK and Ireland are looking to change roles in the next six or 12 months or once the economy has strengthened (14%). Also, 54% of companies globally are struggling to find skilled workers.

Without being able to recruit employees with the experience needed – more and more companies are recruiting for skills rather than previous knowledge. Data from LinkedIn seems to support this too.  Job descriptions that mentioned responsibilities over requirements received 14% more applications per view than job posts that mentioned “requirements” but not “responsibilities”.

Furthermore, Forbes highlights that skills-based hiring leads to increased diversity and inclusion at the workplace. Diversity can lead to increased innovation and improved financial results which is vital for all businesses.

Here are three simple steps organisations can take to build a future-proof workforce:

Establish a baseline: Document the skills you have currently by conducting a skills-mapping exercise. Do remember, you must map skills and not roles during this exercise.‍

Assess future skills: Keeping your long-term strategy in mind, technological innovations as well as industry developments, assess the skills you will need to stay competitive and relevant over the next 10 years.‍

Ensure learning and development is a continuous process: Establish upskilling programs to fill skill gaps and ensure that learning and development programs are embedded in the rhythm of your organisation instead of a one-off thing that employees are forced to sign up for once a year.

If you are seeking any career advice or would like to tap into previously developed experience in the world of recruitment, contact Chris Rooum (Head of Professional Services): chrisr@rerecruitment.com

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