What Job Skills Will You Need in 2020?

As technology disrupts industries, the demand for soft skills — including creativity and emotional intelligence — is growing fast.

By 2020, creativity will be one of the top three job skills most in demand, along with complex problem-solving and critical thinking. That’s according to a “Future of Jobs” report compiled by the World Economic Forum, which surveyed top human resources and strategy officers in global companies.

The report compared jobs skills that were projected to be in demand in 2020 with those considered most important in 2015.  In the listings, creativity moved from 1oth place in 2015 to third place in 2020. And two of top 10 skills judged most important in the future — emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility — didn’t appear at all on the 2015 top 10 list.

Negotiation dropped from the fifth position in 2015 to ninth in 2020, because “machines, using masses of data, [will] begin to make our decisions for us,” according to the report.

Although specific skills varied by industry, “on average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today … Overall, social skills — such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others — will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.”

Top 10 Skills Needed in 2020

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence (new)
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility (new)

Top 10 Skills Needed in 2015

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Coordinating with others
  3. People management
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Negotiation
  6. Quality control (not on 2020 list)
  7. Service orientation
  8. Judgment and decision making 
  9. Active listening (not on 2020 list)
  10. Creativity

You can find the full report here

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.