More skills, less pedigree

According to the latest Report on the Future of Jobs 2023 published by the World Economic Forum, the five most in-demand skills will be: analytical thinking, creative thinking, resilience, flexibility, agility motivation, and self-awareness. This signifies a significant shift in mindset that will shape the talent search for companies that will drive global advancements in the next decade.

24 May 2023

The next era of work will be about skills, not pedigree, as stated by LinkedIn. Traditionally, companies have evaluated candidates based on their job titles, years of experience, and other indicators to make hiring and promotion decisions. However, there is a growing recognition that skills are becoming the primary focus in the future of work.

Companies acknowledge that the current business landscape presents challenges in finding the right talent. The statistics support this concern: over 70% of jobs require a bachelor’s degree, yet less than 50% of the workforce in the United States alone holds such a degree. Furthermore, talent pools are often narrowed when employers focus on candidates from elite universities or prestigious companies. This situation highlights the need for a broader and more inclusive approach to talent acquisition in order to tap into a diverse range of skills and experiences.

Against this backdrop, a significant shift is occurring in the labor market, transitioning from a model that emphasizes pedigree to one that prioritizes skills. Employers on LinkedIn are already embracing this transformation, as approximately one in four job postings (24%) in the United States no longer necessitate a degree, an increase from 15% in 2020. This shift reflects a growing recognition of the importance of skills and competencies in assessing a candidate’s suitability for a position, signaling a more inclusive and skill-focused approach to talent acquisition.

On the other hand, the 2023 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum reveals that over 40% of workers will see their skills impacted in the next five years. This is due to the fact that organizations require individuals with a different set of skills compared to what companies are currently recruiting. The present era is characterized by complex problem-solving and cognitive skills, which are in high demand. This highlights the need for individuals to continuously adapt and acquire new skills to meet the evolving requirements of the job market.

The results are based on a comprehensive survey conducted across 803 companies, representing 27 industry groups, and encompassing 45 economies worldwide. According to the findings, the five most sought-after skills, as indicated by the survey participants, will be analytical thinking, creative thinking, resilience, flexibility and agility, and motivation and self-awareness. These skills are expected to be in high demand across various sectors and regions globally.

Elon Musk’s vision: The second richest man in the world and CEO of Tesla Motors, Twitter, and SpaceX, prefers not to use academic degrees as a measure of a future worker’s worth in his companies. “The tycoon is convinced that the skills someone can demonstrate hold more weight than diplomas,” explains Infobae. For instance, at SpaceX, they attract and retain a greater number of talented and brilliant minds by eschewing the need for traditional academic qualifications. They do not seek specific university degrees or particular master’s degrees. Instead, their hiring process relies on a test known as the ‘two-hand test,’ as reported by Inc magazine, which evaluates candidates based on practical experiences.

The Future of Jobs 2023: The World Economic Forum Report that six out of 10 workers will require training before 2027, but only half of them will have access to that opportunity.

On the other hand, cognitive skills are at the top of the list of the most required skills by employers. Analytical thinking takes the lead, as reasoning and decision-making tasks are currently less automated in a world greatly influenced by Artificial Intelligence.

Creative thinking holds the second position. Saadia Zahidi, the Director-General of the World Economic Forum, mentioned in an interview for the Radio Davos podcast that there is a greater focus and interest in individuals with analytical thinking skills rather than those with creativity. However, it’s important to note that the companies surveyed should not be solely relied upon, as the report indicates that the demand for creative thinking is projected to grow at a faster rate (73%) in the next five years compared to the demand for analytical thinking.

Soft skills such as resilience, flexibility, agility, motivation, and self-awareness continue to top the list of requirements for companies. In a world of work that has been forever transformed, the less-promoted ‘soft skills’ can be equally or even more crucial. “In the midst of the normalization of remote work, where collaboration and methods of innovation have changed, companies are beginning to realize the significance of these intangibles in building diverse and successful teams,” says the BBC. Consequently, employers are increasingly taking into consideration a candidate’s soft skills, according to experts.
That is where resilience comes into play, as it is a skill that enables individuals to navigate stressful situations without compromising job performance. As Martin Luther King once said, “A man does not measure his height in moments of comfort, but in those of change and controversy.” Companies must lead by example and ensure that their leaders are the first to exhibit resilient behaviors, which include being optimistic, flexible, adaptive, creative, and confident.
When it comes to flexibility and agility, the workplace landscape has experienced a significant transformation in recent years, primarily due to the pandemic.

Remote work environments, changing business and operational needs, and emerging technologies have played pivotal roles in disrupting traditional systems. As a result, organizations must prioritize the retention and nurturing of talent to ensure business continuity and long-term growth. One of the most sustainable approaches to achieve this is by upskilling and retraining the existing workforce to meet the diverse requirements of companies. Encouraging employee mobility within an organization can save companies and leaders valuable time, effort, and resources. In today’s world, organizations must adopt an employee development approach that caters to the demands of dynamically evolving jobs and harnesses the potential for individual reinvention.
Finally, high levels of worker motivation are strongly correlated with high levels of commitment. A highly motivated workforce can have a remarkable impact on a company’s bottom line.

The Purpose: Most education systems prioritize knowledge transfer, memorization, and standardized testing, often neglecting the cultivation of human-centered skills. As a result, it is crucial for young people to actively seek opportunities to develop these skills. This necessitates self-reflection, nurturing a sense of purpose, and taking actionable steps to manifest it in real life.

Additionally, employers are increasingly recognizing the power of purpose in fostering commitment and motivation towards shared goals, as well as in cultivating a high-performance work culture. Purpose-driven workers serve as role models who inspire others and encourage collaboration, all while prioritizing their own well-being. They play a pivotal role in creating inclusive environments that attract and retain talented employees.