The skills that will make you successful in the future
Safeera Sarjoo

The skills that will make you successful in the future

You may be surprised at the top 10

First published date January 30 2018 Amended date January 30 2018

The working world is very different today than it was twenty years ago. People are switching jobs at a faster rate, constantly on the hunt for the next best opportunity as new types of positions emerge. Along with that, new skillsets and personal attributes will be required to succeed in competitive industries.

The World Economic Forum listed the top skills that will be needed in the future. They also compared them to skills that were in demand back in 2015. The differences revealed a need for skills that involve more in the way of mindfulness and independent thinking in 2020.

Below are the findings:

How do these skills compare to previous years?

Complex problem solving remains the number one skill to have in the workplace, whilst creativity has jumped significantly up the list.

Previously sitting at number 10 in 2015, in 2020 it is expected to be the third most important skill for individuals to have in the workplace.  

Typically, people view a creative as an artsy individual such as a writer, painter or musician. Working in industries where new technologies, ways of working and products are emerging will require individuals to get creative when it comes to new ways of working and supporting effective problem solving.

According to the Careers FAQ website:

‘If you’re able to connect the dots with seemingly disparate information, and throw all the ideas together to present something ‘new’, then you are a creative person.

‘The problem with the creative process is its inherent ‘non-process’ nature. There is simply no one way to creatively problem-solve something.’

This isn’t surprising given the fact that new problems will arise as our work environment evolves, making problem solving the number one skill to have. According to the same website, ‘having strong complex problem-solving skills is about being able to see the big picture, zero in on minute details, and move things around to make a difference.’

Critical thinking rounds off the top three skills that will be needed in 2020.

Though the change in work environment may be one of the reasons why these skills are especially important, another driving force is our increasing awareness of other people and being able to reflect on our own capabilities.

This is one area where cognitive flexibility comes into play. Another is being able to bridge gaps in your knowledge. If you’re a creative but find yourself zoning out when you hear anything to do with finances, technical know how or the economy, try immersing yourself within these areas by either reading specialist magazines or watching/listening to talks on these subject areas. If you find yourself being the opposite and have trouble embracing the more creative side, why not learn an instrument or take an art class? 

The best thing about this particular list is no one is born with these skills and through short courses anyone can develop an understanding on each of them.  


If you’re unsure about how critical thinking could be applied. We have a course for that.

Want to be a sharper decision maker? We can help with that too on Hotcourses.


Safeera Sarjoo

Safeera is Editor of Whatuni and a journalist from Kingston University. Always the inquisitive, her writing spans across a number of areas such as sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and now education. Her belief that you never stop learning and passionate nature has taken her to New York City as part of her degree and across the airwaves on national radio talking about the issues that matter to her.