Key transferable skills to future proof your career

The world of work is evolving quickly and becomes increasingly complex driven by automation and new technologies. It is a VUCA world we are living in, characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiquity.

So how to navigate your career in a VUCA world and how to prepare for a future job that’s impossible to predict? Don’t panic, you don’t need to sign up for numerous courses to remain employable. Just focus on the quality of your transferable skills, the core competencies you need to thrive in any work setting, no matter the position or industry. You can even get these skills in your personal life. For example, with volunteering, hobbies, or even parenting.

We have listed some of the most in demand transferable skills to future-proof your career!

1. Flexibility

When it comes to hiring a new colleague, which candidate do you think an employer would go for? One who can go with the flow, adapt to new situations, and embrace challenges? Or one who resists change and takes too long to adapt to a new team or apply new procedures? Digitalization, automation and changing industries will inevitably lead to changes and uncertainty. If you see change as an exciting challenge to learn new skills more than a threat you will be able to add value to the team and the company. The same is true when you are comfortable learning new tools and procedures and are happy to volunteer to try on new tasks.

Flexibility also helps you think on your feet as new problems arise, and change your approach based on the particular situation, goals, and needs of the team. It’s linked to resilience, or the ability to cope with obstacles and difficult situations.

2. Collaboration skills

These are perhaps the most important skills at any job. Unless you’re a one-person enterprise working from a cabin in the woods, you will need to work with other people and other departments (at least sometimes 😉). To do this, you’ll need crucial assets like being able to compromise, active listening, diplomacy, and networking. A team player recognizes that the best way to stand out is by uplifting their team and working together to reach a common goal.

In a VUCA world, collaboration will remain just as important. As has been pointed out already many times, creativity in future jobs is key; if they are not creative, jobs will be done by algorithms or machines. But, creativity is not enough; real impact is made, when people with a joint vision will work together in creative collaboration.

3. Communication skills

Needless to say, collaboration and communication go hand in hand. Good communication skills means being able to express yourself clearly in any setting–from Slack chats to presentations. In this day and age, written communication skills are even more important than ever, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to develop others like presentation skills or public speaking.

But good communication is not just about what you say — it’s also about listening. You want to get your message across, right? So, active listening is what will get you there. A good listener uses the cues the other person gives to tailor their communication, making their message more persuasive and effective.

4. Digital capabilities

Many companies take great pains in pre-screening candidates for tech skills, and with good reason. No manager wants to spend ages training a new employee from scratch if they can find someone ready to jump in from day one.

Basic tech skills also make you more adaptable to changes in tools and processes that inevitably happen in companies over time. You don’t even have to be an expert programmer. Skills like basic HTML, knowledge of the most popular communication and project management tools, graphic design software or social media management will add a ton of value to most teams.

5. Learning agility

Learning agility is the ability to learn, adapt, unlearn to keep up with constant changing conditions. In fact, agile learners are comfortable feeling uncomfortable; they need challenges to grow and learn, they value feedback from others and usually, are quite self-reflective. In changing situations, agile learners can guide the organization to figure out how to cope with the new situation (e.g. technology changing the process) without knowing exactly what to do.

Learning agility can be taught and learned at any stage in life. In fact, it is like a muscle so if you want it to grow stronger, you need to constantly work at it. If you have leadership ambitions, you better make sure to start today as learning agility is considered a reliable indicator of a person’s leadership potential and studies show that 50% of hired leaders will fail because they are missing this skill.

6. Emotional Intelligence

Learning Agility combined with Emotional Intelligence (EI) are probably the most important skills needed in our VUCA World.  We define EI as the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.

While AI and automation take over routine mental and physical tasks, EI is becoming the key differentiator in achieving excellence in individual and organizational engagement, product innovation, and customer experience. The increase in volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity results in meaning and purpose taking a more central role in business activities.

Final Thoughts

Research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new responsibilities driven by automation and new technologies.

Are your transferable skills future proof and are you able to make impact in our VUCA World? And is your company supporting you in developing your transferable skills?

Cheers, Claudia, Ilona and Selvi

The Talent Inn is your partner for Audit, Risk & Finance.


Key transferable skills to future proof your career