Published Monday 19th July 2021

Over the last few decades, the world of work has slowly but surely changed, in many ways for the better. This is natural – as technology progresses, the requirements of labour change in tandem.

However, in comparison to generations past, the speed of transformation now is on another scale. New technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and the ‘internet of things’, are rapidly altering the workplace, and jobs will need to adapt just as quickly.

Many of the jobs that will be required in two decades do not exist right now, so how can businesses, governments and employees prepare? Mckinsey’s Future-Citizen Skills survey shines a light not on roles but on traits that will be key for everyone in the next generation of labour.

The Key Skills for Future Workers

Many people have noted that expectations around work are changing for both employers and employees. While there are many different reasons behind this shift, one might be the change in importance regarding certain skills that are shifting requirements for both parties.

Mckinsey’s research identified 56 foundational skills that will help people excel in the workplaces of the future. Here are some of the most important.


Unsurprisingly, the research indicates that adaptability will be by far the most important skill in the future workforce.

A few generations ago, people could be expected to train in one profession and work for the same company in the same job for the majority of their working life. However, even now, it’s not uncommon for people to not just change companies but also industries and professions multiple times in their life.

In the future, an ability to adapt to new challenges and possibilities, both personally and as a business, will be crucial. Other skills such as coping with uncertainty are to be highly sought after for a similar reason.

Organisational Awareness

Despite changes in the makeup of work, some skills will remain important. McKinsey’s research indicates that high-income positions will still require a good grasp of organisational awareness and work-plan development.

Self Confidence, Motivation & Wellness

As the world of work becomes more fluid, job satisfaction will take on even more importance for both employers and employees. In this regard, McKinsey cites self-confidence, self-motivation and wellness as three key skills to develop.

Confident and healthy employees will be more adaptable to changes, making them a huge asset for companies that will seek to evolve with changing technologies. Likewise, companies that place individuality at the forefront will see boosts in productivity and creativity, leaving them well prepared for any shifts in the business landscape.

Many of the skills outlined by McKinsey already exist in the workforce. However, shifting priorities will require many people to retrain in particular areas. Going forward, there will be increasing importance on the training opportunities provided to both children and adults.

Are you ready for the future? With a rapidly changing business landscape, it’s more important than ever to ensure your organisation is prepared. To discover how we can help future-proof your business, take a look at our website or contact us today.