As the digital revolution continues, many of today’s most common jobs are evolving as a rapid pace as technology advances. Similarly, a lot of new, previously unheard-of jobs are starting to emerge, and it’s important that as the next generation of job seekers, young people have the skills to make the most of these exciting opportunities.

To keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies, strong basic skills are required at all levels. Specific skills for current technologies will continue to develop in the workplace, but organisations will need to ensure their employees continue learning, throughout their careers, to ensure they are prepared for future technological progress.

Whilst it is difficult to predict the exact skills requirements beyond 2020, we can identify a range of factors that are likely to influence skills demand in the future. These influencing factors can help us build up a picture of the potential skills requirements beyond 2020.

The emergence of new technologies and trends towards automation and robotization in the production of goods and services will continue. Production and manufacturing work will transform and while is likely to change from production today, it does not automatically imply that it will become more difficult.

For instance, employees will be helped by mobile assistance systems as standardised routine tasks will be transferred to cyber-physical system (CPS) controllers.

Moving towards a robotised or automated system will mean a continued, if not increased, demand for technical capacity, particularly in management functions, as well as a continued demand for higher-level skills to fill professional roles.

Generic technical skills, software and hardware integration will be the most wanted skills. This must be addressed through an enhanced focus on STEM skills and an enhanced cooperation between companies and training providers.

With increasing integration of software in products we will need more electronics and software engineers in the product and process development. The increasing digitalisation of production also means that more engineers within robotics and automation will be required.

Focused programming and coding skills will be essential in the coming years in many industries.

Analytical skills will also be sought after. The amount of data from sensors and platforms is increasing tremendously and to make sense of the data and to create new business models, advanced analytical skills are needed.

  • Cybersecurity skills will be central. Increasing amounts of software and internet everywhere in industry also means that cyber threats are everywhere.

In addition to the technical competence, required to work with more complex production processes, there will remain a continued demand for soft skills such as:

  • the ability to cooperate
  • the ability to take responsibility
  • problem-solving ability
  • ability to communicate – also across different business functions and cultures