Skills for the Future

  • techUK techUK
    Thursday12Sep 2019

    Guest blog: Astrid Mehrtens-Haupt, member of techUK's Skills & Diversity Council explores the skills sets needed to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.

On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today, according to a survey and report by the World Economic Forum. Overall, social skills— such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. Technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills

The World Economic Forum ranks analytical thinking, problem solving and critical thinking as the top three skills today

Active learning, learning capabilities and creativity will make a difference and climb up the ranking of most in-demand skills for 2022; emotional intelligence and leadership abilities will keep being sought-after. Computational thinking and programming become crucial.

While hard skills develop through formal education, work experience and continued education in classrooms and on online platforms, developing soft skills in the workplace and as an individual isn’t an easy task. How do you train for creativity and emotional intelligence?

There are several learning technology solutions that Learning & Development professionals can leverage to develop skills. These are further enabled through integration with popular content marketplaces, including for example Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, PluralSight  and Lynda etc. that can offer an ocean of knowledge for learning in-demand soft skills.

Training delivery methods include Microlearning which are 15 – 20 minutes of informal learning experiences (video, podcasts, quizzes etc) powered by mobile solutions or Social Learning via observation, imitation, or modelling, where people are employing a range of social connections and tools to support their learning without even thinking about it. Also, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), are a permanent part of the educational landscape. Lastly, certificates & badges are a form of validation that makes tremendous sense in our open, social, informal learning world and are playing a larger and larger role.

The World Economic Forum calls for a Reskilling revolution and suggest addressing the skills shortage on different levels between business, government, civil society, and the education and training sector. It is clear that

  • Employers will need to invest in reskilling initiatives or risk losing talent
  • Government will have to setup reskilling projects to future-proof the education & training system
  • Industry will have to provide sector-specific skills guidance for the future

But also, workers will have to carry more and more the responsibility for reskilling themselves.

There’s a lot of work to be done!


Astrid Mehrtens-Haupt has spent the last 18 years of her professional career in a variety of leadership positions on European or global level in the technology sector. She was part of the leadership team of Aptum (previously Cogeco Peer1) where she initially lead the Channel organisation and later the overall EMEA sales organisation.

Prior to joining Cogeco Peer 1, Astrid was Chief of Staff for HP Software WW and EMEA level, responsible for large scale sales & operational initiatives linked to company profitability, restructuring, emerging markets growth and acquisitions.

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