The top 10 most in-demand job skills embody what it means to BE Built4Agility.
While the global pandemic was a major disruptor, it merely accelerated the trajectory we were already on with digitization. We are now post-pandemic, and the work landscape continues to evolve with jobs being eliminated and roles being redefined. There is no indication that the wave of layoffs that hit dozens of US companies toward the end of 2022 will slow down in 2023. Some of the biggest corporations around the globe made significant cuts, with major job reductions at Meta, Twitter, Google, Goldman Sachs, Gap, FedEx, and Dow, to name a few.
According to the Journal, the tech sector is now hemorrhaging employees at a faster rate than at any point during the pandemic. Layoffs.fyi, has been tracking layoffs since the start of the pandemic and reports that tech companies cut more than 187,000 jobs in 2023 alone, and we're only in the first week of May — compared to 80,000 job cuts from March to December 2020 and 15,000 in 2021.
Yes, these numbers are staggering, but they also speak to the importance of workers having a strategic differentiator that sets them apart from the pack. So let's unpack this list of critical skills to reveal why these capabilities are so important to employers and the future of work. The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs report identified the top 10 most in-demand skills in 2023. It turns out they embody exactly what it means to BE Built4Agility.
The top 10 most in-demand skills in 2023:
Resilience, flexibility, and agility
Motivation and self-awareness
Curiosity and lifelong learning
Dependability and attention to detail
Empathy and active listening
Leadership and social influence
No. 1: Analytical thinking or Agile thinking
Agile thinking enables the pivot and tops the list of the 10 most in-demand job skills for workers in 2023. The terms 'analytical thinking' and 'agile thinking' can be used synonymously. It is simply the ability to adjust your thinking when you learn something new. Agile is a mindset and a state of being. It is how we shift and pivot when faced with uncertainty that allows us to navigate change.
No. 2: Creative thinking
Creative thinking ranks second among cognitive skills. It is the ability to look at your situatedness through a new lens or fresh perspective. It enables you to deal with new complexity, ambiguity, and change. At Built4Agility, we incite creative thinking with design thinking activities during our dojos. Dojo is a Japanese term that literally means "place of the way." It is a safe space for learning, sharing, and creative problem-solving. The fact that creative thinking supersedes self-efficacy skills underscores the criticality of workers having the ability to shift, pivot, and adapt to changes in the workplace.
No. 3: Resilience, flexibility, and agility
Resilience, flexibility, and agility are more than crisis skills; they are the secret sauce. By definition, the secret sauce is the important element or ingredient that makes a noticeable difference in the way a product performs. According to Thomas Crum, “Being willing to change allows one to move from a point of view to a viewing point. A higher, more expansive place, from which you can see both sides.” This speaks to the criticality of BEING resilient, BEING flexible, and BEING agile.
No. 4: Motivation and self-awareness
Motivation and self-awareness means knowing what works for you and what doesn't. When you understand that YOUR WHY comes from within, you don't need others to validate you or give you a reason for doing. Your drive comes from the things that you care about-your values, beliefs, passions, goals, and aspirations, not someone else's view of the world. These are the things that give you purpose and allow you to keep going even in the face of adversity. It is how you convert challenges into opportunities and allow setbacks to become setups. BEING self-aware means that you are able to see things from the perspective of others and practice self-control. This is the energy that allows you to bring your whole self to the table.
No. 5: Curiosity and lifelong learning
Curiosity is the key to lifelong learning and the currency of progress. It is what drives us to explore, question, and discover new knowledge and experiences. In the words of Albert Einstein, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." It is our capacity to actively listen and approach interactions with the hope of learning something new, uncovering answers, and acquiring deeper knowledge along the way. With more knowledge and insights at your disposal, you are motivated to innovate.
No. 6: Technological literacy
Technological literacy is the ability to leverage digital tools and automation to evaluate, create, and integrate information. As digital tools continue to evolve and newer technologies become mainstream, it is critical that you are able to safely and confidently navigate new technologies such as digital platforms and social media to:
Identify, select, and manage information and resources.
Combine basic knowledge with problem-solving skills.
Collaborate, interact, and contribute to the collective intelligence of online communities.
No. 7: Dependability and attention to detail
Dependability and attention to detail means doing the right thing and doing things right. Say what you mean and do what you say. If you make a commitment, show up, follow up, and be consistent. It's that simple.
No. 8: Empathy and active listening
Active empathic listening means going beyond the person's words to more fully grasp their emotions. It is the capacity to show intentionality, care, and concern as others share their views or feelings. Active listening is a show of support that not only allows them to feel validated but can also help you generate a more heartfelt response.
No. 9: Leadership and social influence
Leadership is a demonstration of social influence, not authority or power. It amplifies and accelerates the efforts of others towards the achievement of a communal goal. It is your ability to articulate your vision clearly and enthusiastically so that you generate interest, ignite the same enthusiasm in others, and even influence their choices.
No. 10: Quality control
Quality control is the process by which we measure and test our work to ensure it meets established quality standards. In agile, that means quality is "baked in the cake." We hold our own feet to the fire by reflecting often and asking ourselves: 1) Are we doing things right? and 2) Are we doing the right things? In doing so, we ensure that quality measures are consistently built into everything we do.
While we can all agree that the global pandemic was a major disruptor, it appears that it merely accelerated the trajectory we were already on. The work landscape continues to evolve post-pandemic, with jobs being eliminated and roles being redefined. The good news is that there is an opportunity for you to grow and develop the top 10 most in-demand skills and capabilities that are critical to the success of employers and the future of work. This is what it means to BE Built4Agility.