An education think-tank has revealed six essential employment skills anticipated to be most in-demand by employers in 2035.
According to the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and University of Sheffield study, existing skills shortages could worsen, requiring urgent action to be taken to safeguard the UK economy and ensure workers are able to progress in their careers.
The six most vital future work skills that the NFER expects will be in greatest demand in 12 years’ time are: communication; collaboration; problem-solving; organising; planning and prioritising; creative thinking; and information literacy skills.
Future work skills
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It identified these skills by looking at labour market projections from the Warwick Institute of Employment Research and Cambridge Econometrics, which estimate the number of people employed in “jobs of the future”, and matched these with skill profiles that were derived by combining skill descriptions from the US Occupational Information Network with the 412 UK standard occupational classifications.
It found that the skills anticipated to be used most extensively in the labour market in 2035 will be broadly the same as today. However, there are expected to be more people employed in professional and associate professional occupations, and people in these jobs.
Almost 90% of the 2.2 million new jobs set to be created in England between 2020 and 2035 will be professional and associate professional occupational such as scientists and engineers.
The Skills Imperative 2035 report says: “These findings highlight the need for a greater focus on the development of these skills in our education and training systems. To meet the skills demands of the future, we will need to increase the availability of these skills across the workforce, help and support more workers to acquire the skills to ‘move up’ the occupational hierarchy, and ensure young people have higher average levels of these skills than previous generations when they first enter the workforce.”
Demand for more specialist skills will also increase, but do not rank highly among the most desired future work skills. The need for physical and sensory skills is set to decline, the NFER claimed.
The NFER called on the government to work with local authorities, employers and education providers to help the workforce develop these skills, as well as ensure they are nurtured in schools.
Jude Hillary, NFER’s co-head of UK policy and practice, said: “The implication is clear; the future labour market will need a greater supply of these skills than it has today.
“To meet these future demands we need an urgent government-led, cross-sector approach to increase the development and availability of these skills across the workforce. The government should support more workers to acquire the skills to ‘move up’ the occupational hierarchy and take action to ensure young people have higher average levels of these skills than previous generations.”