Six of the Most In-demand Skills for the Next Decade


The ‘double disruption’ of the pandemic and the ‘automation boom’ has transformed the working world. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, 85 million jobs may fade into obscurity due to technological advancements. However, 97 million more may emerge to meet the demands of future tech.

Here are six of the skills that Employment Hero‘s Chief People Officer, Alex Hattingh, predicts will continue to grow in demand as we get to grips with a remote-first, digital future of work.


1. Creativity and innovative thinking

“The night was still dark and the moon shone through. The river was a pale, ghostly outline through the tall trees of the hills. He could hear a distant car horn. The moonlight streamed through the tall, dark windows, illuminating the face of an old woman that was leaning on a wall.” 

Do you find the above passage spooky? Does knowing that it was generated by artificial intelligence (AI) make it spookier? Many people point to examples like this in fear of what AI could produce creatively in the future. But in reality, computers are still far removed from what the human brain can achieve. While computers are bound by programming, the human brain can innovate quickly, create endlessly, and openly imagine and dream. Human creativity is not just reserved for artistic industries, creative thinking is at the core of innovation across the board. It’s a powerful business tool that will become even more important as technology advances and automation takes over methodical tasks. 


2. Complex problem solving

Let’s be honest, the next 10 years are going to reveal some extremely complex problems to solve. From tackling climate change to successfully emerging as a global community after Covid-19, there are going to be some multi-dimensional challenges to navigate in the next decade. During any time of major change and development, complex problem solving is one of the most important skills to have in your toolkit. Complex problem solvers will be able to clearly define an issue, take into account various factors and perspectives, and deliver solutions that will be favourable by all stakeholders. It’s a difficult skill and one that takes organisation, consideration and strong articulation – and that’s why it will be so valuable in the coming years.


3. Analytical Reasoning

Big data is no longer a resource that only big businesses utilise. Now, and into the future, smaller businesses can access analytics that give relevant insights to their customers and audiences. Whether this is pulling numbers from Google Analytics, social media or an e-commerce platform, these numbers can help shape any business strategy and plans for growth. The access we have to insightful data is growing, but this means little without having the right people in place to understand and evaluate it.


4. People management

Human resources is an area that has seen a dramatic evolution over the past few years. Long gone are the days of the stereotypical role of the HR manager that kept records, sorted paperwork, and held dry annual performance reviews. HR is now a dynamic field that allows innovative individuals to align and inspire companies to perform at their very best. Now very much a strategic role, HR is critical to ensuring that companies can achieve their goals, influence a positive culture, connect with great talent and continue to grow. They will also be essential in facilitating the very upskilling we’re talking about in this article. While strong people management will continue to be an in-demand skill for the next decade, that isn’t to say it won’t continue to evolve.


5. Negotiation

Negotiation is one of those soft skills that is often overlooked. In some ways, this goes hand-in-hand with analytical reasoning. You may have the most compelling numbers possible and you may have even drawn great actionable items from these numbers. But without the negotiation skills to leverage these numbers for change, you can’t achieve much. Negotiation is no longer just a great business skill for securing the big deals. It is a key part of balancing great ideas with analytical trends, and it will be a key interpersonal skill in working with managers, clients, teams and customers ove the next decade.


6. Tech literacy… and the willingness to embrace it

Have you ever worked for a company that’s been resistant to digital innovation? Maybe they struggled to transfer their documents to the cloud, maybe they were resistant to experimenting with new software, or maybe they just had an old school approach to working. Whatever the reason, they are at major risk of being left behind if they don’t dial up their technology literacy quickly. This is one of the most obvious, but also the most important skills on the list. With Covid-19, we’ve been exposed to the difficulty of not being prepared for digital-based work. A huge mistake would be to think that this is going to become less important. Remote and digital working is the new normal now for companies all over the world. It allows businesses to work efficiently, find great talent outside their home locations, and keep their employees happy. But of course, tech literacy is essential for these roles. Staff must be across digital communication channels, task management systems, cloud HR software and more if they are going to succeed in the future.