10 skills you'll need for 2020

5 mins

Released in 2016, the World Economic Forum surveyed the chief HR officers and seni...


Released in 2016, the World Economic Forum surveyed the chief HR officers and senior management of the some of the world’s leading companies and released The Future of Jobs report revealing the top 10 skills you’ll need in 2020.

From managing people effectively, to thinking critically, here are the skills deemed most valuable for employees at the start of the new decade.


10. Cognitive Flexibility

This is all about being a mental gymnast and being able to think about things differently. With a limber mind, it becomes easier see patterns and join the dots between ideas.

Learning new things, exercising your brain and developing new ways of thinking that challenge your traditional way should help you flex those cognitive muscles.

Image showing cognitive flexibility

9. Negotiation

Having strong social and interpersonal skills are more important than ever before as automation and robots become increasingly common in the workplace.

Unlike our robot friends, we are far better at social interactions and negotiations and companies will continue to look for people who can interact and negotiate well with their teams, managers, clients and suppliers.


8. Service Orientation

Can you anticipate what your customers value and what their future needs will be? Service orientation is all about actively looking to for ways to help people.

Demonstrating you have the ability to truly understand your customers and be flexible and adaptable in the products or services you offer will go a long way and show you’re an asset to any company seeking to become/maintain their position as a company of choice.


7. Judgement & Decision Making

Those with a knack for making strong, thought out decisions are valuable members of any organisation.

With the amount of information and data we’re presented with these days, being able to make sense of it all and use it to inform decisions and business actions is crucial.

Cartoon man looking at multiple signposts trying to make a decision

6. Emotional Intelligence

Having emotional intelligence is particularly important to managers and leaders and is a hugely valued skillset.

Emotional intelligence allows us to understand, manage and use our own emotions to overcome challenges, diffuse conflict, communicate effectively and emphasise with others – all valuable traits within the workplace.

The good news is that the skills that make up emotional intelligence can be learned at any time.

5. Coordinating with others

Another hugely important social skill, coordinating and collaborating with others involves strong interpersonal skills and an awareness of others, communication skills and the ability to work with others in new ways that may differ to your own.

Get this right and you’ll see your productivity levels increase as you get more out of those around you in an effective way.


4. People Management

Being an effective people manager has a lot to do with emotional intelligence and coordinating others and is as much about leading team effectively as it is having the ability to manage upwards and deliver through others.

Setting expectations with your team or you’re reliant on to deliver tasks, leading, motivating, encouraging and ultimately getting the best from your teams are all essential skills of a good people manager.


3. Creativity

Predicted to be a key skill in 2020, creativity should not be dismissed if traditionally you see yourself and a ‘non-creative’ person.

If you can present ideas in a new way, decipher and connect the dots with obscure information or problem solve in an original way then you are a creative person.

Despite what you might think, creativity is a skill, one you can get better at and if you can think more creatively, you’ll be an asset to any business.

Cartoon brain showing both creative and logical thinking

2. Critical Thinking

Thinking with logic and reason, considering multiple solutions to a problem and having the ability to see both sides of the coin, weighing up the pros and cons was deemed to be a valued skillset in 2020.

Being able to demonstrate you have the ability to think and consider issues in this way will make you highly employable and a welcome addition to any team.


1. Complex Problem-Solving

Defined in the report as the capacity to ‘solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings’, complex problem-solving topped the list of valued skills in 2020.

Strong complex problem-solving skills is the ability to see the bigger picture when dealing with an issue, focusing closely on the small, often overlooked details and changing things to make a difference.

These skills can be honed over time through using games and brain-training apps to improve your mental elasticity.


Want to future-proof your career? The more of these skills you can arm yourself with, the more valued and employable you’ll be.

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