Future Work Skills

Important Work Skills for 2020
Infographic source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

Report source: Future Work Skills 2020


The 6 Drivers of Change

  1. Extreme Longevity: People are living longer.
  2. The rise of smart machines and systems: Tech can augment and extend our own capabilities. Workplace automation is killing repetitive jobs.
  3. Computational world: Increases in sensors and processing makes the world a programmable system. Data will give us the ability to see things on a scale that has never been possible.
  4. New media ecology: New communication tools require media literacy beyond text. Visual communication media is becoming a new vernacular.
  5. Superstructed organisations: Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation. Social tools are allowing organisations to work at extreme scales.
  6. Globally connected world: Diversity and adaptability is at the centre of operations. The United States and Europe no longer hold a monopoly on job creation, innovation, and political power.


Future Work Skills of 2020

  1. Sense making
    ● Ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.
    ■ The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems.
  2. Social intelligence
    ● Ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.
    ■ The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems, Globally connected world.
  3. Novel and adaptive thinking
    ● Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
    ■ The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems, Globally connected world.
  4. Cross cultural competency
    ● Ability to operate in different cultural settings.
    ■ The Drivers: Superstructed organisations, Globally connected world.
  5. Computational thinking
    ● Ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data based reasoning.
    ■ The Drivers: New media ecology, Computational world.
  6. New Media Literacy
    ● Ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.
    ■ The Drivers: Extreme longevity, New media ecology, Superstructed organisations.
  7. Transdisciplinary
    ● Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
    ■ The Drivers: Extreme longevity, Computational world.
  8. Design Mindset
    ● Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.
    ■ The Drivers: Superstructed organisations, Computational world.
  9. Cognitive load management
    ● Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximise cognitive functions.
    ■ The Drivers: Superstructed organisations, Computational world, New media ecology.
  10. Virtual collaboration
    ● Ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.
    ■ The Drivers: Superstructed organisations, Globally connected world.



Davies, A., Fidler, D. and Gorbis, M. (2011) Future Work Skills 2020. Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix