June 7, 2023

The top skills employers are looking for

The future of work: What students need to know to succeed

The world of work is constantly evolving. So, how can we help young people foster the skills employers are looking for? This article explores the following topics:

  • How and why the job market has changed
  • The skills gap challenging companies 
  • The top skills employees need to navigate work according to the Future of Jobs 2023 report from the World Economic Forum
  • How and why schools should explicitly teach young people these skills.

The changing job market and the skills gap

The Future of Jobs 2023 report by the World Economic Forum explores the technological advancements and changing work environments that have disrupted the traditional job market and resulted in the need for new skills. 

We don't know exactly what skills will be needed in the future. But businesses are realising they need to retool. They're now seeking people with different talents – such as the ability to deal with uncertainty and change. The ability to stay focussed on an objective and minimise distractions is crucial to navigating a remote workplace. Continuing advances in technology mean evaluative skills are vital for interpreting data and sound reasoning.

The report predicts the most in-demand skills required by 2027. These include:

  • analytical thinking
  • creative thinking
  • AI and big data
  • leadership and social influence
  • curiosity and lifelong learning.

Businesses also predict that 44% of workers’ core skills will be disrupted. This means workers will need to acquire new skills to adapt to the changing work environment. Employers will have to think differently about skills. Instead of relying on traditional signals e.g. a qualification, it will be more about what skills a person can demonstrate in the workplace.

There is opportunity for school leaders to capitalise on this shift and take steps to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed.

Skills on the rise for workers

The report also explores the top 10 skills on the rise according to the businesses surveyed. A summary of the findings reveals that:

  • Companies predict creative thinking will grow in importance by 73% in the next five years – the fastest-growing core skill.
  • Analytical thinking is predicted to grow in importance by over 72% in the next five years. The rationale is that reasoning and decision-making are the least automated workplace tasks.

The report also highlights the importance of skills such as resilience, flexibility and agility, motivation and self-awareness, technological literacy, empathy, active listening, leadership, and social influence. Businesses surveyed deemed no skills to be in decline. Some companies, however, judge certain skills – such as literacy, mathematics, global citizenship and precision – to be of declining importance.

The top 5 skills of 2023: The top 5 skills on the rise
  • Analytical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Resilience, flexibility and agility
  • Motivation and self-awareness
  • Curiosity and lifelong learning
  • Creative thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Technological literacy
  • Curiosity and lifelong learning
  • Resilience, flexibility and agility.

How can schools teach these critical skills to prepare students for the evolving world of work

Young people need opportunities to develop these skills and to prepare for an ever-changing job market. The kinds of skills explored in the report are not a ‘nice-to-have’ – they’re essential. And while they prepare students for the future, they also have immediate application. 

In the context of education, critical skills can change the way students approach problems, face challenges and respond to data - and one another. These skills can also change the way staff in schools work and think, building a culture of compassion, and instilling confidence and positivity.

Professional learning plays a vital role in helping teachers foster critical skills in students. Creatable supports schools to map these critical skills to strategic priorities and shows teachers how to explicitly implement them in any classroom.

Creatable courses transfer lessons and ideas from industry to improve learning and teaching for all educators and students. Topics developed in partnership with organisations such as UNICEF include:

  • Nurturing Evaluative Students
  • Using Evidence Authentically
  • People, Processes & Problem Solving
  • Intentional Creativity
  • Perseverance.

The Creatable Skills Framework aligns with the report’s predicted skills on the rise when it comes to the future of jobs. 

Evaluative: Evaluate information critically, reason logically, and make informed decisions fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Influential: Build positive relationships and communicate effectively to foster a culture of trust and collaboration.

Reflective: Reflect critically on learning and teaching, fostering a growth mindset and promoting a positive learning environment for all students.

Perseverant: Develop a resilient, committed and balanced approach to learning and teaching to overcome challenges, stay motivated, and achieve goals.

Compassionate: Create an inclusive and supportive learning environment that sustains positive relationships and enables individuals to find their voice and purpose.

Imaginative: Develop creative problem-solving skills, enhance critical thinking, foster curiosity and build strong interpersonal connections.

A final word

It’s clear there is a need for new skills – along with the ability to adapt and flex – in an ever-evolving job market. Employers now require people with analytical and creative thinking skills, leadership and social influence, and curiosity, among others. This shift in demand for skills means that schools need to equip young people today with the skills they need to succeed tomorrow. 

The Creatable Skills Framework can help teachers and schools develop the critical skills of evaluation, influence, reflection, perseverance, compassion and imagination. Students with these skills will be ready to thrive with confidence, courage, and agency in a rapidly-changing world of work.

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