The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its Future of Jobs report earlier this year and, based on the input from more than 350 executives across 9 industries globally, the top 10 skills in demand for 2020 are:

  1. Complex problem-solving

  2. Critical thinking

  3. Creativity

  4. People management

  5. Coordinating with others

  6. Emotional intelligence

  7. Judgement and decision-making

  8. Service orientation

  9. Negotiation skills

  10. Cognitive flexibility

As is to be expected, those skills associated with managing the constantly changing landscape – including critical thinking, complex problem-solving, judgement and decision-making and cognitive flexibility – remain in high demand. Of interest though is that the remaining skills are all associated with an individual’s ability to manage themselves and others, highlighting the importance of EQ as well as IQ.

Technology is already disrupting the workplace and changing what employers find attractive when considering new employees for their organisations.

A huge concern for us at TSR is that the current workforce is not keeping abreast of new tech methodologies and is not taking the responsibility for upskilling itself, despite access to a myriad of free online resources. Last week, whilst meeting with one of our clients, their leadership cited that as many frontline / ops  people are been retrenched, there are many more tech vacancies are opening up within the group.  Of great frustration to them, is that current staff, especially those at the forefront of potential redundancy, are looking to the organisation  to help them solve the problem, rather than taking it upon themselves to ensure that they (and their skill set) remain relevant.

Self-awareness is key to maintaining employability

Emotional intelligence, popularised by American psychologist Daniel Goleman, is primarily made up of five key elements, including: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Lots of research over the past twenty years has indicated that a high emotional intelligence is a critical factor that separates star performers from their peers. In fact, that connection is so strong that 90% of top performers – across industries – have high emotional intelligence. Primarily intangible, EQ affects how we navigate social complexities, manage our own behaviour, influence others, and make decisions that ultimately work towards achieving positive results.

Individuals who have good self-awareness recognise their areas of strength and understand what skills and competencies may need work to ensure their continued success in their current (and future) environment. This ability to adapt and grow is key to situational effectiveness, critical within the fluid work spaces we need to operate in today.

TSR Top 3

Within TSR specialist portfolios, we see that candidates with complex problem-solving abilities are nailing top jobs and are in highest demand across the range of industries we serve. Of the 10 skills ranked by the WEF, the TSR top 3 would be:

1. Cognitive flexibility

The WEF defines this as “creativity, logical reasoning, and problem sensitivity with the ability to adapt how you communicate based on who you’re talking to.” We concur that employers want to know that their employees have the ability to listen deeply and to tailor their communication to the individual they’re speaking to, assessing the situation and making adjustments for achievement of desired outcome.

The ability to adjust their approach to situations, including problem-solving and innovative thinking, is essential for all employees in today’s competitive global marketplace. Our clients place great emphasis on this skill and utilise a range of assessments, including case studies to assess candidates’ abilities to think intuitively.

2. Complex problem solving

As technology increases and the amount of data grows by the second, the need for humans to assess and interpret this information becomes inescapable. The WEF report shows that 36% of all jobs in all industries will require complex problem-solving as a core skill within the next two years.

In the fields TSR recruits, complex problem-solving is core and with many employers still placing high correlation between STEM subjects and problem-solving, it is no wonder that most jobs require Maths and Science as core subjects, even at tertiary level.

3. Collaborate / coordinate with others

More and more work is being performed in project teams, including cross-functional and even cross-organisational. The need to engage and work effectively with others is therefore essential for success in an increasingly more collaborative marketplace.

Clients actively seek out candidates who’ve proven project experience and who have high levels of EQ, enabling them to adapt, perform and even lead diverse teams.