The world is changing and so is the future of work. The revolutionary new inventions from the last 20 years mean new jobs exist that no one could have imagined before now. By 2035, it is estimated that 40% of today’s professions will have disappeared, replaced by new and exciting jobs to fit around our fast-developing technology.

At the same time, our world faces new problems that need to be solved. Global life expectancy increases at an average of 2 years per decade. Climate change presents a whole new issue to tackle and population increases will put a strain on our resources. At the same time, exciting advancements in technology means that holidays on mars could become These changes will require new jobs to tackle new issues the future faces.

With all this change, trying to predict what the future of work will be like by the year 2035 is impossible to get right. With this in mind, how can you future-proof your career to ensure you have the skills to fit the unknown jobs of the future? The answer lies in Soft Skills.

Why Soft Skills?

Soft skills are essential to building and developing your career. While qualifications are useful and sometimes necessary in getting certain jobs, soft skills show that you can adapt what you already have to fit into a role. Also known as transferable skills for that very reason, spending time on developing your soft skills and recognising where your strengths lie is the best way to secure your future of work. 

In such an unknown future, where the possibilities seem endless, knowing the right qualifications and ‘hard skills’ to have is impossible. Soft skills, on the other hand, can be transferred into new jobs much easier. 

At Fledglink, we identify 9 ‘Power Skills’. These are all soft skills that anyone is capable of developing. Possessing and improving these skills is vital in order to maximise your employability and future-proof your career. Here, we discuss how each one can be developed and how they might translate into the future of work.

(To learn more about soft skills, check out our other article about why they are so important.)

Complex Problem Solving

Solving problems that are not defined, no clear ‘right’ answer

Problem-solving can be tough – the clue is in the name, after all! This skill utilises both logic and creativity. You need to be able to apply reason in order to solve problems, but creativity is also necessary for coming up with a solution.

Exercises to try:

Talk problems through with others and brainstorm. You’ll learn new ideas and methods of thinking from other people. Try mind-mapping to visualise problems you come across. You can also work on your logical thinking by playing games such as sudoku or using a Rubik’s cube.

Complex Problem-Solving in the Future of Work

Complex problem solving is a soft skill required by every job under the sun. It doesn’t matter whether you’re stacking shelves in an inter-galactic delivery station or a hoverboard mechanic, every job will find you encountering problems you need to solve. 

Creativity

The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.

The main thing about creativity is that it is unique to every individual. Every person is capable of being creative, it isn’t limited to just being good at painting. Thinking creatively is a soft skill valued by many employers. It means you are able to ‘think outside the box’ and contribute fresh new ideas to the company.

Exercises to try:

Embrace your creative side by doing more things you love. There are so many different forms of creativity for you to explore and it can be very freeing trying out new things. Another great way of getting your brain to develop creatively is by journaling. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams can really help you to get a sense of yourself. You may surprise yourself with wat you have to say!

Creativity in the Future of Work

There will definitely be plenty of opportunities for creative jobs in the future of work. The great thing about the creative industry is that it is timeless. People always appreciate art, in all its forms. A creative job isn’t necessarily producing artwork. Writing, designing, inventing are all creative jobs. You could be a 3D Printed Shoe Designer, or an Interactive Games Script Writer.

Collaboration

Working well with others

Being able to work with other people who might be from a variety of different backgrounds is an important skill to have. Nearly every job involves some level of working collaboratively or as part of a team, therefore employers want their employees to be up to that task.

Exercises to try:

A good way to hone your team working skills is by getting into a team sport. Not only will it help you develop your collaboration skills, but it will also teach other important power skills such as communication and leadership. Not forgetting that exercise is essential for keeping a healthy body and mind!

Collaboration in the Future of Work

In the future, many jobs will be done by both humans and robots. If collaboration and teamwork is a strong skill for you, perhaps you’ll end up working as an Augmented Hybrid Team Manager, helping humans and robots to work together in harmony.

Critical Thinking

Being able to analyse and evaluate something and form a judgement about it

Critical thinking is all about analysis and employers value candidates with this skill. Critical thinking is the key to making improvements. If we all took everything at face value without question, nothing would ever be improved. It is the skill of critical thinking that helps to lead employees to make contributions.

Exercises to try:

The best way to develop your critical thinking is through discussion. Try reading more widely and join a book club or a debate club. Thinking about challenging topics and discussing them with others will not only develop your analytical skills but also help to broaden your mind.

Critical Thinking in the Future of Work

In a future where humans and AI might live alongside each other, they’re bound to have their falling outs. Having an open mind, being able to analyse different situations and having strong debate skills could certainly come in handy in the future. How about an Inter-bionics Relations Lawyer!

Emotional Intelligence

Being aware of your own emotions, understanding others and situations.

Being emotionally intelligent at work is a vital skill that employers look for. Roles involving customer service or lots of client interaction require a great deal of emotional intelligence. However, working in an office with other colleagues also requires a sensitivity to others. To keep up morale and productivity, it is important that workers are aware of each others emotions to avoid situations where people feel isolated or underappreciated.

Exercises to try:

Practise your listening skills. When you have conversations with friends and family try to notice what they are really saying. It’s far too easy to only half-listen to others while trying to think of what you’re going to say next. Instead, try making an effort to stop and listen to what they have to say, to tap into others’ emotional states.

Emotional Intelligence in the Future of Work

In a future where robots will be taking over many jobs, there is one skill that they cannot beat humans on. Being in touch with your own and others’ emotions is so far a skill that robots aren’t likely to possess. Working mental health fields might be something highly valued in the future. With the rise of climate change becoming a large public concern, perhaps being an Eco-anxiety Counsellor is your future of work.

Self-Awareness

Knowing yourself; your strengths, weakness, emotions and behaviour

Being self-aware is a skill necessary for life. It can be applied to all jobs as it is vital to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the effect you have on others. Imagine working under a manager who is not self-aware. They don’t know their own weaknesses so are bad at delegating. This results in things not getting done properly, which makes everyone stressed. Self-awareness at work is essential for helping with productivity and relationships.

Exercises to try:

Personality quizzes can be fun, but good, credible ones can be a useful tool in learning more about yourself. Our Fledglink app has a detailed personality questionnaire which might be a great place to start. Download and sign up here if you haven’t already!

Self-Awareness in the Future of Work

Just as it is important to have self-awareness in work now, it still will be in the future! In fact, perhaps this is the power skill robots will need to work on the most in the future of work, as robotic engineers are constantly working to create AIs that are self-aware.

Curiosity

Having a learning mindset and always asking ‘why’.

Curiosity is the partner of critical thinking, in terms of soft skills. Employers value curiosity because questioning why things happen in the way they do, particularly when it comes to things like systems and policies, is the first step in making improvements.

Exercises to try:

Playing mind games with yourself is a good way to exercise curiosity. Try to always ask yourself why certain things happen. Another good question to get into the habit of asking is ‘what if?’ 

Curiosity in the Future of Work

Having a learning mindset is a fundamental part of most jobs, future and present. Such is the way of all soft skills, you could bring curiosity to any job of the future you want, be it a SpaceCraft Architect or a Climate Change Refugee Supporter. 

Resilience

Picking yourself up and moving on from problems, hurdles and negativity

Resilience will have as much a place in the future of work as it does in the present. As stated earlier, all jobs involve some problem solving, and when certain things inevitably go wrong, it is important that you are able to move forward and learn from these experiences. 

Exercises to try:

The key to being resilient is having a healthy mindset and maintaining optimism. This can be easier for some than it can be for others. It is important to avoid dwelling on the negatives and trying to stay positive in difficult situations. Exercises that can help with this could be practising gratefulness: each morning and evening list 5 things you are grateful for, to remind you of the good things in life. 

Resilience in the Future of Work

With the global threat of climate change looming over our future, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems we will face in the future of work. For example, recent figures suggest that climate change will cause 200 million people to lose their homes. Resilience will be a key skill in the work we do in 2035 to try to change that.

 

Adaptability

Finding ways around a problem, comfortable with change, adapting to your environment.

Being able to adapt to new challenges is a soft skill many employers covet. To be adaptable you need to have an open mind, be able to cope with change and pick up new skills quickly. It means being responsive to your environment and is highly valuable in the workplace as it means that whatever skills you don’t already have, you will be capable of learning them.

Exercises to try:

Being adaptable means being comfortable with change. The best way to exercise this skill is to make sure you leave your comfort zone from time to time. Always seeking to learn new skills and try new things is the best way to develop yourself into an adaptable individual.

Adaptability in the Future of Work

Adaptability is the number one power skill to future-proof your career. The clue lies in the definition: able to cope with change. With so much change being foreseen in the future of work, you will have to be ready to cope with anything the future throws at you. Prepare to evolve.

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