Filling the skills gap: Five essential skills for jobs of the future

Workforce development programs often focus on one key objective: filling the skills gap. Just as the economy and technology change over time, so do the skills that make someone an exceptional hire. The trouble is, many young professionals learn only from their parents or older mentors how to get jobs, which is not always suitable for a modern competitive job market. 

The U.S. is cultivating a talent-centric workforce as employers seek to phase out jobs that can be automated. Until recently, automation was considered a threat to employment. Now, it’s an opportunity for workers to find meaningful careers and develop deeper skill sets. 

Assembly line jobs are becoming skill-specific trade jobs and opportunities in robotics and engineering. Even workforce sectors like customer service are changing from a traditional in-person model to tech-centric solutions that help employees and consumers gain positive experiences (such as working and shopping from home). 

As workforce practices change, young professionals should shift their focus to honing these five skills to develop their careers: 

Analytic thinking

As the job market shifts from generic jobs to skill- and talent-specific jobs, employers want individuals who can be autonomous in their positions and add value to their company rather than show up on time and fill a role. In addition, those who are good problem solvers and can fix operational issues without top-down management will more readily thrive in the complex talent-centric jobs of the future. 

Digital fluency

It is unlikely that any job in the future will require little to no computer time. Even those in hands-on trades must work with account management software, digital communications, social media, and much more to compete in the current markets. The higher degree of digital literacy you have, the more employable you’ll be across industries. 

Stress tolerance and flexibility

As the workforce becomes more talent-centric, many workers expect to be somewhat autonomous and manage their careers without company guidance. Workers will be increasingly in charge of their career paths and face higher job stress and uncertainty in their day-to-day functions. Those that are flexible and can fill needs whenever necessary will be considered “linchpin” employees and much more valuable to the companies that have them. 


Since COVID-19, most companies have expanded their opportunities to work from home, with many phasing out the traditional office altogether. While this won’t impact those in the food service or trade sectors, it will affect many who enter the corporate world. In addition, working from home requires a great deal of self-discipline and impeccable time management, so those with these qualities will thrive in the changing American office culture.  


Hard work and initiative never go out of style in the workforce. Bosses will recognize conscientious workers who arrive early and fill needs without being asked. Diligent workers are likely to land opportunities that others do not.


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