“Five years from now, over one-third of skills (35%) that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed.” – Alex Gray, World Economic Forum

Okay, first thing is first: do not kill the messenger.

Second, yes, we realize the word “success” means different things to different people.

Here are the “stipulations” considered while forming this article:

(a) You are/will remain in the job market until 2020.

(b) You don’t make your living off entrepreneurial endeavors.

(c) You don’t have complete job security.

(d) You don’t have millions stashed in some account.

(e) You are willing to learn new skills to remain relevant or advance in the workforce.

Maybe you have children and are (rightfully) concerned about globalization, unstable financial markets, or a “top-down”-driven economic platform. We won’t pretend to understand your circumstances or priorities – it would be a complete insult.

With that said…

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland – and it is considered among the most trustworthy, reliable and prestigious economic platforms in the world.

Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American woman, philanthropist, and CEO of PepsiCo. Ms. Nooyi is responsible for singlehandedly leading the initiative to deliver healthier, more sustainable products to PepsiCo’s millions of customers. This is what Ms. Nooyi says about the WEF:

“Nowhere else in the world is there another forum that brings together governments, NGO’s, corporate leaders, artists, musicians to all come together are talk about the biggest issues facing the world.”

That’s a pretty diverse group. And it turns out we need a wide array of talents to overcome the obstacles confronting the global community.

Here are five of the biggest skills needed according to the WEF:

1. Creativity

That’s right – in a world that has continuously shunned the creative community, their talents will be needed more than ever by 2020. In fact, the WEF lists creativity among the top 3 skill sets workers will need.

“With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.”

Fellow artisans, rejoice!

2. Complex problem-solving skills

The global economy, as it has through the years, will introduce disruptive technologies and products to eager consumers. We also face a number of problems that require innovation to solve. Both of these developments require people with extraordinary problem-solving abilities.

Individuals of this type possess “developed capacities used to solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings.”

In other words, we need more scientists and fewer portfolio managers.

3. People management

Of course, we will always need effective leaders. No organization, public or private, can function without individuals with brains managing its most precious resource: it’s people.

Per the WEF, the 2020-and-beyond economy will need leads capable of “Motivating, developing and directing people as they work, (and) identifying the best people for the job.”

4. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Who else remembers the mortgage crisis of 2009? The Bernie Madoff scandal? The Enron scandal? The BP oil spill? Remember the cluelessness on the faces of Madoff, Enron’s CEO’s, and Tony Haywood (BP)? The bank officers who were rendered speechless when testifying to Congress? Emotional intelligence was lacking in each case.

Well, responsible use of technological innovations requires people with a high level of emotional intelligence. We need people who will put the needs of humanity above their own – and certainly above profits.

5. Service orientation

No matter the economic environment, odds remain favorable that people will have higher expectations for customer service, efficiency, ethics, and value.

WEF concisely defines service orientation as “Actively looking for ways to help people.” Regardless of the product or service, people who purchase something expect loyalty in terms of support.

Outside of the commercial realm, service-oriented individuals will be called upon to fill various social roles. We will continue to need counselors, teachers, nurses, and support staff. A transitioning economy will not benefit everyone, unfortunately. So, a higher demand for volunteers, community workers, and other people-minded jobs and “pro-bono” work is highly likely.

In case you were wondering

The other 5 in-demand skills are:

– Critical Thinking

– Coordinating with Others

– Judgment and Decision Making

– Negotiation

– Cognitive Flexibility (i.e. abstract thinking)

Gray, A. (2016, January 19). The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

The World Economic Forum. (2017). Our Mission. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.weforum.org/about/world-economic-forum
The World Economic Forum. (2016). The Future of Jobs [PDF]. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs