Workforce & Workplace
Future Workforce Skills for 2020
Gerri Mason Hall
Gerri Mason Hall


Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation

SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer,

Sodexo North America

Workplace Trends Homepage and Sidebar Button337-839520When my mother’s generation went to work in the 1960’s, men made up 78% of the workforce and most were the sole family breadwinners. Only 13% of employees were over 55, and the average workday took place in an office building from 9-5. Fast forward 50 years and global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills needed to be productive contributors in the future.

The recently released 2015 Workplace Trends Report examines the most valuable future skillsets by analyzing key drivers predicted to reshape the landscape of work and identifying the most essential work skills needed to sustain business over the next 10 years.

To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms and skill requirements. They will increasingly be called upon to reassess the skills they need, and quickly put together the right resources to develop and update these skills. Workers in the future will need to be adaptable lifelong learners.

According to the study, six key drivers will shift, shape and likely disrupt the landscape for the next generation of workers. From expanding lifespans to advances in technology to data collection, these key drivers are transforming the way business gets done and pushing the boundaries of traditional organizations.

With these forces reshaping the future, the Workplace Trends Report defines 10 skills essential to employee success in the next decade. A few highlights include:

  • Workplace Trends image337-839465Sense making: The ability to find the real significance of what is being expressed, to help create unique insights that lead to critical decision making.
  • Social Intelligence: Employees who are able to connect with others are socially intelligent, with the ability to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.
  • Cross Cultural Competency: In a truly globally connected world, diversity will become a core competency for organizations, including the ability to operate in different cultural settings.
  • Computational Thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into concepts to understand data-based reasoning.
  • Cognitive Load Management: In a world rich with information streams, formats and devices, the ability to discriminate and prioritize, to filter out what is most important.

Businesses must also be alert to the changing environment and adapt their workforce planning and development strategies, to ensure alignment with future skill requirements. Strategic human resources professionals will need to reconsider traditional methods for identifying critical skills, as well as selecting and developing talent. Considering the disruptions likely to reshape the future will enhance businesses’ ability to ensure organizational talent has and continuously renews the skills necessary for the sustainability of business goals. To learn more about the skills necessary to be successful in the next decade, visit: 2015 Workplace Trends Report.

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