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10 in-demand job skills becoming more important

Survey ranks jobs of the future and the skills needed to get them

As the world adapts to climate change and employers adopt new technology like artificial intelligence, the job skills employers are looking for will shift, according to a new survey.

The World Economic Forum asked executives from 803 companies across 27 industries and 45 countries what skills they looked for in employees, and how they expected this to change over the next five years.

Analytical thinking and creative thinking, known as cognitive skills, remain the most important skills for workers in 2023. 

Today, analytical thinking is on top, considered a core skill by more companies than any other skill.  But looking to the future, creative thinking is reported to be the skill growing in importance the fastest, reflecting the increasing importance of complex problem-solving in the workplace.

A strong argument for sticking with maths in school, since research shows maths can help children boost their cognitive ability!

Other important skills employers look for today include self-efficacy skills – resilience, flexibility and agility; motivation and self-awareness; and curiosity and lifelong learning. All of these are seen as helpful for workers dealing with disruption from ongoing change.

Dependability and attention to detail and technological literacy rank sixth and seventh today, and then come the skills you need to work effectively with others: empathy and active listening and leadership and social influence.

Systems thinking, AI and big data, talent management, and service orientation and customer service are all job skills expected to become more important over the next five years.

The jobs of the future won’t be the jobs of the past

The job market is in for a big shift according to the WEF, with tens of millions of jobs expected to be eliminated and at the same time new jobs created in response to global trends in technology and the economy.

The fastest growing jobs of the future are expected to be:

  • AI and machine learning specialists
  • Sustainability specialists
  • Business intelligence analysts
  • Information security specialists

The jobs with the largest absolute growth are expected in education, agriculture and digital commerce.

Top 10 job skills by increasing importance

  1. Creative thinking 
  2. Analytical thinking 
  3. Technological literacy 
  4. Curiosity and lifelong learning 
  5. Resilience, flexibility and agility 
  6. Systems thinking 
  7. AI and big data 
  8. Motivation and self-awareness 
  9. Talent management 
  10. Service orientation and customer service


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