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9 Skills Young People Need in the Future Workforce

See also: Employability Skills for Graduates

In recent years, unemployment has become a global issue facing young people. Although many young people earn a college education, and even an advanced degree, they struggle to find jobs in their chosen industries.

There are many reasons for the rise in unemployment, including a lack of jobs and a growing population.

For instance, in Australia, organisations in both government and private sectors are initiating programs to try to fix this issue and run a range of programs to support youth in developing employability skills.

For young people today, it is more important than ever that they are well-equipped to enter the workforce. Despite being educated, many lack the skills they need to get the jobs they want. Below are nine skills young people need to help them get the jobs they want.


1. Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy Skills

In today's digitally advanced world, nearly every career involves using technology of some kind.

The more a person knows about technology, the more appealing they will be to an interviewer. Digital literacy involves getting young people familiar with a variety of technologies, so that they can easily learn to use any program or device. As young people are preparing for the workforce, they should continuously increase their knowledge of emerging technologies as this will help future employers to see them as easily trainable.

2. Problem Solving Skills

Perhaps the most important skill young people can develop before entering the workforce is problem-solving skills.

Many education systems do not teach these skills as they have chosen to focus on rote learning. Young people need ample practice in being given open-ended, authentic experiences in solving a wide range of problems. Today's jobs are no longer rote; workers need to be able to adapt to all sorts of problems that may come up.

Critical thinking skills are a must and one of the top assets employers are looking for in new hires.

3. Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship Skills

Because of advanced technology, our world is now smaller than ever.

Whereas in the past, employees would only deal with people in their region, young people will now work with people all over the world. Young people need to be well-versed in global citizenship, with an appreciation and understanding of other cultures. While knowing more than one language is a great asset, just being able to communicate and bond with people from other cultures can make a young person valuable in an industry.

Young people develop global citizenship through travel and connecting with people from a variety of cultures.

4. Youth Entrepreneurship

While not all young people will go into business, all youth need a sense of entrepreneurship to succeed in today's workforce.

This means that young people need to be motivated in their jobs. Companies want workers who have forward-thinking attitudes and who can initiate changes and ideas on their own. Young people are now expected to do more than just a list of duties.

Employers are looking for new hires who will make a difference in their company.

5. Curiosity and a Love of Learning

Lifelong Learning

One of the most important skills needed for future jobs is curiosity and the love of learning. Our future is indefinite, so there is no limit to what workers in the future may need to learn.

Young people need to hold on to the curiosity and love of learning they possessed as children. These traits translate perfectly into the modern work environment. Young people should constantly be pursuing knowledge and learning new things. The more young people know, the more well-rounded they will be.

Employers are looking for well-rounded individuals in their workplace and someone who loves to learn is always an asset to a company.

6. Communication Skills

Communication skills are perhaps second in importance only to problem-solving skills when it comes to skills needed for jobs in the future.

No matter how great a person's intentions or ideas, if he or she cannot communicate effectively, many other skills will be of no great matter. Young people need to be effective at getting their ideas across both in writing and in speaking. Many employers list writing and speaking skills among the top traits they look for in new hires.

Young people should practice writing and speaking until they feel comfortable communicating in the workplace.

7. Adaptability and Cognitive Flexibility

Two highly important skills for future jobs are adaptability and cognitive flexibility.

The modern workforce is constantly changing and no one knows for sure exactly what industries will look like in the decades to come. In order for young people to be successful, they need to be able to easily adapt to changes. Many companies are always changing the way they do things, and they need workers who can adapt and roll with the changes.

Young people need to also have cognitive flexibility. This means that they need to be able to change their thinking as quickly as new problems and situations emerge. They should be able to look at a situation from many angles and formulate the best plan of action.

8. Accessing, Assessing and Analyzing Information

Skills for Accessing, Assessing and Analyzing Information

With the widespread availability of technology, young people have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

Today, it is no longer about what a person knows, but what a person can find out. Thus, young people do not necessarily need a head full of knowledge, but they do need the skills to access any information they may need to solve a problem.

Not only do young people need to know how to access information, but they also need to be able to assess and analyze the information. They need to be able to sift through and judge information to find what is relevant to their situation. They need to be able to analyze the information to determine what it really means and how it can be used.

9. Self-Knowledge and Emotional Intelligence

One of the most important skills needed in the future workforce is self-knowledge.

Young people need to know themselves well enough to know their strengths and weaknesses. When a worker understands him or herself, he or she can make adjustments where needed and perform at his or her best. Young people who know themselves not only know how to approach and solve problems, but are also better able to work with others.

In addition to self-knowledge, young workers also need to be able to understand others through emotional intelligence. This will allow them to make connections with their co-workers, superiors and anyone who is associated with their company. Making strong connections is essential in any industry. Employers want new workers who can form these bonds in order to promote the company and work well with others.


The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need


The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.


About the Author


Paige Ellingson is a graduate in business and communication who now works as a creative content executive and is currently based in SE Asia. She enjoys writing about personal growth and startups for the most part in her writing journey.

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