Digital technologies are transforming the way we work at a rapid pace. People are worried about the potential obsolescence of their employment and what they can do to combat this. A study by the McKinsey Institute has identified over 50 “foundational skills” that will help people thrive in the future world of work.

Top eight skills you’ll need to adjust to the future:

1.Coping with uncertainty

Adaptability has always been a priority for businesses seeking top-quality staff. It’s important to know how to stay calm in the face of changing work environments and challenges. The past 18 months have proven just how crucial this can be.

2.Understanding biases

Much of the technology we use every day is built upon algorithmic or societal biases that are often unconscious – operating without the knowledge they are upholding harmful stereotypes.

By putting the work in to understand how these perceptions can creep into the things we make and use, you’re showing future employers that you’re aware of one of the biggest problems facing technology this century.

3.Digital fluency 

Most office work has required the use of digital programmes and information systems for decades now. But awareness of how to use information systems, how to collaborate digitally through cloud communication software such as GSuite and Slack, and literacy in computer programming are all ways you can stand out among a sea of people with limited, outdated digital know-how.

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean retraining in a tech-related field, but making sure you’re able to navigate the digital programmes relevant to your field and using them to the best of your ability.

4.Self-awareness and self-management

Understanding where our strengths and weaknesses lie is a good way of knowing when to ask for help and knowing when to help others.

That way, your future boss is able to identify what you bring to your team. If something isn’t in your comfort zone, don’t over promise and under deliver. If an opportunity arises to dazzle people with your knowledge of a relevant subject area, you’ll be remembered for it.

5.Cybersecurity literacy

Companies have an ethical and financial obligation to protect user data – it’s of increasing importance to legislators and erodes trust if it isn’t honoured.

Data is absolutely everywhere, and we’re often signing it away through caches and cookies without acknowledging what this really means. Educating yourself on why it is important and what structures are in place that leave it vulnerable to creating harm will become increasingly relevant to a number of fields.

6.Synthesising different messages

Being able to “synthesise” different messages as a way of displaying critical thinking and communication strengths is a growing desire for a lot of different industries. This means pulling contextual information you already know and pairing it with new ideas in order to draw similarities and differences.

It is a requirement of almost all jobs and will continue to do so as critical thinking becomes encouraged to combat detrimental levels of misinformation.


We’re living in an age where having a “side-hustle” or two is actively encouraged by proponents of secondary incomes. It’s not always a particularly healthy approach, and one we don’t recommend (see millennial burnout featured in the above segment).

Instead, you should be looking to deploy entrepreneurial values in your main job as a way of standing out as someone that isn’t afraid to take risks, moving away from the idea that future jobs are going to require us to be mindless drones. Exploring new ideas, breaking orthodoxies, and displaying genuine energy and passion are all ways of embodying this.


A strong sense of self-belief was placed as a top three desirable skills by McKinsey in roles that produce high incomes and job satisfaction. Many of us don’t feel confident in our abilities because we’re in jobs that demotivate us or strain us into thinking we’re not the right fit.

However, If you don’t go for the opportunity, someone else will. The job market isn’t getting any less crowded. Back yourself enough to want other people to do the same.

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Special Projects Editor