The new situation unveiled global job market vulnerabilities like never before.

With the US unemployment rate peaking at 14.7% in April 2020, Europe expected to lose 12 million full-time jobs by the end of 2020, and 436 million enterprises facing severe disruption worldwide, the future of work looks gloomy. More than ever, new skills that are both technical and creative – so-called hybrid skills – are key to securing a long-lasting career. No wonder IT and broader digital competencies will lead the way, but there are some crosscutting capabilities the workforce will need in order to succeed in this new digital society.


The new situation proved our economic system fragile. While global growth is expected to rebound in 2021, an increasing number of workers are being laid off today. In times like these, adaptability is the number 1 rule:

  • New business opportunities and leverage diversification benefits;
  • Implement contingency plans whenever a crisis hits;
  • Re-skill and stay competitive in the job market.

Flexibility, creativity, and the ability to think out of the box are all key factors for future success.

Personal branding

Establishing a work-friendly online presence is an upward trend. Not only it makes it easier for companies and employers to reach out to potential recruits or business partners, but can – and should – be used to promote one’s skills and capabilities beyond traditional application means. Developing a powerful personal brand also shows competence and commitment. That in turn may lead to attracting new clients or job offers because the “product” i.e. the actual person behind it has proved to be good. Shaping a professional social media profile, nurture online interactions, and grow a strong personal brand will become an integral part of future workers’ skill set.

Effective communication & Storytelling

“I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.” In today’s digital world, that kind of narrative looks outdated. Communicating effectively using a simple, clear, and immediate language is at the root of digital communication. However, a crisp language without a captivating story is an empty shell. What makes a product, a brand, or a person stand out is the journey behind their success. Let’s think about it: what does the iPhone, Facebook, and Elon Musk have in common?

Great storytelling is essential to create engagement and breed strong emotional connection. Good stories spark people’s interest in that they appeal to people’s emotions and have an impact on their imagination. Moreover, compelling narratives often provide positive resolutions or show the benefits associated with the product or character at the center of the story. That elicits people’s proactive responses and makes them more willing to take action.

Critical thinking

Fake news, conspiracy theories, science denials: finding your bearings in a world where news feeds are filled with everything and its opposite may be challenging.  Identifying reliable information and creating significance out of what is being expressed requires strong analytical skills and critical thinking. Besides, filtering out and sorting through vast amounts of inputs is necessary to avoid cognitive overloads.

Decision making

We live in a complex world and face multi-dimensional problems. Making the right decision at the right time to achieve the best outcome is all but easy.  A clear vision and strategic planning abilities are what professionals need in order to succeed. Scientific methods such as WOOP (Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan) can help people to test their objectives, implement their intentions, and eventually achieve their goals.

Technological literacy

Quantitative reasoning skills such as computational thinking and statistical analysis can no longer be overlooked.  A robust technological literacy involves three main abilities:

  • The ability to understand and make use of basic IT tools and programming languages;
  • To sort through information and interpret vast amounts of data;
  • And also translate numbers and codes into abstract concepts to drive decision making.

New media and social media literacy

It has become virtually impossible to ignore social media and digital platforms. New technologies such as video production, podcasting, digital animation, augmented reality, and gaming – to name a few – are becoming more and more sophisticated.  The ability to critically assess social media platforms and develop content that uses these new channels will increasingly play a relevant role.

Transdisciplinarity & Lifelong learning

The age of experts may not be over yet, but the need for T-shaped profiles is on the rise. These are individuals with in-depth knowledge in a specific area, but who are also capable of engaging in other areas of the business at the same time. T-shaped people often rely on “transdisciplinarity.” That is the ability to understand concrete concepts across multiple disciplines and make sense of them as a whole. To achieve such a broad portfolio of competencies, lifelong learning is required. Improving their knowledge and diversifying their areas of expertise on an ongoing basis will be a must for professionals going forward.

Design thinking

Despite the concept was already well-known in design academies and among designers, the word is now on everyone’s lips. In a nutshell, design thinking is a process that involves both analysis and imagination and aims at creating innovative solutions for complex problems.  Design thinking can be easily applied to a fast-changing world for it is a methodology rather than a specific competence. It provides for any adjustment to the work environment in order to come up with a solution. Understanding how design thinking works and adopting a design mindset will become one of the most in-demand skills in the near future.

Virtual collaboration & Emotional intelligence

Terms such as “working from home” and “remote working” have been trending in last months’ Google research due to widespread lockdowns.  Being part of dispersed groups and joining virtual teams in off-site facilities has become the new norm and it is there to stay.  One of the main lessons the world will retain from the 2020 situation is the need for efficient virtual collaboration. Sustaining high levels of productivity while engaging with coworkers in virtual situations will be a major requirement for employees, leaders, and professionals at large.  That will come with a sizeable dose of emotional intelligence: individuals will need to be more aware of themselves and of their impact on others.

Understanding how to connect and communicate with others in more profound and direct ways will become a much-valued capability.

Bonus tip: Luck

Luck matters and whoever says the opposite lies!

The luck plays a substantial role in determining our career success and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca

As seen, the job market will require increasingly flexible and diversified skills going forward. Future workers will need to develop a deeper digital literacy alongside a broader entrepreneurial attitude to succeed in the new digital era.

But what does that mean for jobs and industries at large? Which careers and roles will flourish in the next future?


By Nadia Musumeci
Creativity, accuracy, and passion
Nadia is a copywriter and content writer. She offers copywriting, ghostwriting, and blogging services to businesses of all sizes. Nadia worked in public affairs, publishing, and the beauty industry. When she is not busy freelance writing or working on her blog, she is sunbathing in a park nearby. Connect with her on LinkedIn.