Critical Skills for the Future Workplace

The pace of change is ever accelerating which affects our careers and the workplace in which we work. Modern-day futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk gave some great career advice at a recent Ted talk that INC Magazine summarized in one sentence; “if you are not progressing you are regressing; so keep moving forward”.  To keep moving forward the future workplace will require a different set of skills to stay relevant.

“If you are not progressing you are regressing; so keep moving forward.” – Elon Musk

In the Spring 2017 issue of Talent Economy Ira Wolfe suggests there are six critical skills that workers will need in the coming decades to be equipped for the future workplace.

  • Collaboration: Skilled collaborators are, and will increasingly be, valued in the future complex workplace. Collaborators excel at using multiple communication platforms.  They keep up with the information flow and use the information to work with others.
  • Critical thinking: The expectation is that workers will be asked to meet higher expectations with fewer resources. This will require thinking analytically without supervision.  The ability to analyze, evaluate, and create is essential.
  • Conscientiousness: Someone who is conscientious is proactive, responsible, and dependable. Employers need individuals with these valued skills to help navigate the complex work world.
  • Curiosity: To effectively thrive in a world of ambiguity, complexity, and uncertainty, curiosity requires a desire to explore new horizons and take risks, with the ability to reflect on those experiences.
  • Creativity: Seeing the world in a new way opens up a flow of new ideas. The ability to generate new ideas and turn them into workable solutions will be highly praised in the future workplace.
  • Agility: The ability to shift gears often and quickly requires workers to move nimbly and draw conclusions quickly. Fast cognitive ability and high personal energy will be required.

Some suggest these skills are hard-wired and cannot be learned.  Most all have the capacity to learn these new skills.  Forward-thinking corporate learning departments currently offer training in some of these skills to employees.  Talk with your corporate training department.  Take responsibility for your learning. To get started below is a list of a handful of resources.


  1. 5 Ways to Boost your Memory and Mental Agility, The Chopra Center,
  1. Critical Thinking in Every Day Life: 9 Strategies, The Critical Thinking Community,
  1. How Curiosity Enhances Learning, informED,