Five skills everybody will need for the jobs of the future

by Contributor21 May 2018

By Olivier Pestel, senior director of APJ solution consulting and business development at Cornerstone OnDemand.

The widening skills gap is an escalating problem. Technology is creating new capabilities for machines, changing every part of how we work, and new research shows that one in three Australian jobs are at risk of automation by 2030[1]. To identify the urgent skills people must master for the workplace of tomorrow, Cornerstone OnDemand recently partnered with Palo Alto think tank The Institute for the Future on a research report titled “Future Skills: Get Fit for What’s Next.” The report identifies key performance zones and “superskills” that can groom people for just about anything the future of work holds.

Here are the five key skills every employee needs to safeguard their future:

  1. Building your personal brand & get credit for everything

In the future, workers will need to build their own personal brand and get credit for every skill they have developed across their career. This won’t be a surprise to many people, as we’ve been seeing less importance put on where you went to university or what particular degree you have for a while. Skills are the currency in the new job economy, and they will be the measure future employees use when hiring candidates.

Building your own brand includes building your network of contacts, as these connections are what’s likely to lead to your next role. These contacts can be within or outside of your chosen industry, as transferrable skills mean that workers will be able to transition quickly and easily into new jobs.

  1. Befriend the machines

There is a lot of unnecessary anxiety around robots replacing workers – people and machines are already working together in many ways, and changes in technology will only increase the ways that they can simplify tasks and save time. In many ways, AI elevates the role of humans. In healthcare, for instance, AI is being employed to do things like digitally verifying insurance coverage information[2] – reducing the need for manual calls and freeing up office managers to do other things.

There’s no need for workers to feel like they need to learn coding or machine-learning algorithms, but they will need to know what automation is and understand the benefits of artificial intelligence. Working with technology rather than against it is key, and the more flexible people can be to riding these changes, the easier things will be for their working lives.

  1. Be flexible & connect the dots

Along with befriending the machines, a key skill for employees will be flexibility, and adapting their skills amidst organisational change. Organisations are also looking at ways they can integrate with technology better, which means streamlining processes and improving overall performance. Workers will need to be flexible to the changes that come from this organisational change. These changes help employees connect the dots by sharing best practices, working closer with different teams and allow companies to be more mission-driven day-to-day.

A good example of this is global manufacturing company Kohler. Kohler was previously operating under multiple business units, meaning employees didn’t have insights into these separate parts of the business, often creating inefficiencies and redundancies. The company started using the Cornerstone platform to allow leadership to better understand employee roles, skills and team structures. Now with one system, the leaders of Kohler can see the whole picture, allowing them to empower employees with the right skills.

  1. Grow your multicultural dexterity

The 2018 working landscape is full of employees with complex, layered identities that go beyond being a mother or a millennial. These identities come out as we interact in the workspace, which is increasingly in non-traditional formats. Remote employees, overseas offices and flexible contracts mean that employees are interacting in new ways and via new platforms like internal chat platforms and social media.

Building your multicultural dexterity allows employees to shift their mindset and respond appropriately to these new channels of communication and employ local rules of engagement. In a skills economy, dynamic teams all desire to grow and connect. Classic command and control structures do not work. In the working and learning future, we’re all in it together.

  1. Keep empathy at your core

All we know about the new skills economy for sure is that change is going to be a constant. Empathy will be the key to navigating this landscape, and first understanding the biases, opinions and experiences that shape your own worldview. This can then be applied to putting yourself into other people’s situations. As humans, we’ll need a higher caring IQ to better understand the complexities of daily life, build lasting relationships, gain a more diverse perspective, influence others and care for ourselves and those around us.


[1] https://www.adzuna.com.au/blog/2018/03/21/automation-report-regional-australia-hit-hardest/

[2] http://www.healthcareitnews.com/slideshow/how-ai-transforming-healthcare-and-solving-problems-2017?page=1

About Olivier Pestel

Olivier Pestel is Senior Director of APJ Solution Consulting and Business Development at Cornerstone OnDemand. A seasoned, client-focused leader, Olivier has had previous roles at companies including ORACLE, Taleo, PwC and IBM.

About Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSOD) is a global leader in cloud-based learning and human capital management software. The company’s solutions help organizations to realize the potential of the modern workforce. From recruitment, onboarding, training and collaboration, to performance management, compensation, succession planning, people administration and analytics, Cornerstone is designed to enable a lifetime of learning and development that is fundamental to the growth of employees and organizations.

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