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Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work

Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work


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Research by the McKinsey Global Institute has looked at the kind of jobs that will be lost, as well as those that will be created, as automation, AI, and robotics take hold. And it has inferred the type of high-level skills that will become increasingly important as a result.

The ne...

In a labor market that is more automated, digital, and dynamic, all citizens will benefit from having a set of foundational skills that help them fulfill the following three criteria, no matter the sector in which they work or their occupation:

  • add value beyond what can be done by auto...

56 DELTAs(Distinct Elements Of Talent)

Looking at the extensive research, the research team identified 56 distinct elements of talent (DELTAs) that fall within these skills groups. They are called DELTAs, rather than skills, because they are a mix of skills and attitudes. “Adaptability” and “coping wi...

Evaluating proficiency levels for DELTAs

Eighteen thousand people from 15 countries completed the online questionnaire and were given a score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each DELTA.

The results showed respondents’ proficiency was lowest in two skill groups in the digital category—software use and development and understanding digit...

Overall, survey participants with a university degree had higher average DELTA proficiency scores than those without, suggesting—perhaps not surprisingly—that participants with higher levels of education are better prepared for changes in the workplace. However, a higher level of education is not...

Holding all variables constant—including demographic variables and proficiency in all other elements - research showed employment was most strongly associated with proficiency in several DELTAs within the self-leadership category, namely “adaptability,” “coping with uncertainty,” “synthesizin...

Being Digitally Proficient

Digital proficiency seems to be particularly associated with higher incomes: a respondent with higher digital proficiency across all digital DELTAs was 41 percent more likely to earn a top-quintile income than respondents with lower digital proficiency.

The equivalent comparison was 30 per...

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is also associated with certain DELTAs, especially those in the self-leadership category. Holding all variables, including income, constant, “self-motivation and wellness,” “coping with uncertainty,” and “self-confidence,” had the highest impact on respondents’ j...

The research findings help define the particular skills citizens are likely to require in the future world of work and suggest how proficiency in them can influence work-related outcomes, namely employment, income, and job satisfaction.

Research suggests governments could consider reviewing and updating curricula to focus more strongly on the DELTAs. Given the weak correlation between proficiency in self-leadership and interpersonal DELTAs and higher levels of education, a strong curricula focus on these soft skills may be appro...

The majority of respondents we surveyed—like the majority of people in society at large—were no longer in national education systems. Raising proficiency in the DELTAs would therefore require continuous adult training. The fact that proficiency in digital DELTAs—shown to improve the chances of ac...

AI algorithms could guide users on whether they need to upskill or reskill for a new profession and shortlist relevant training programs. To develop accurate algorithms, governments would need to collect and organize data on market demand for jobs and skills, as well as data on training programs....

Occupation-based qualifications risk becoming outdated rapidly as occupations requiring new skills emerge. Hence, skills-based accreditation may better suit employers’ needs. Providers could develop programs that cover the practical skills and DELTAs required to perform a certain occupation, but ...

Some governments award lifelong learning grants to their citizens, who can enrol in training programs within a national aggregator. To help equip citizens for the future world of work, governments could funnel funds toward programs that include the DELTAs associated with employment. For example, ...

Most children around the world have access to primary and secondary schooling, but not all of it is of high quality, and early education for the very young—the best age at which to develop certain mindsets and attitudes—is unaffordable for most people in most countries. 

Today’s technologic...

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