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Seven Skills for the Future of Work

Understanding the skills you’ll need to hone to stand out in the world of work is critical says Dr. Rochelle Haynes, a UK-based Barbadian International Human Resource Management Specialist and Gig HR expert.

Focusing exclusively on hard skills, those obtained from technical knowledge and training, can be disadvantageous, especially because “the world is changing so rapidly…we don’t know with the future what will become the new priorities.” Instead, you need to develop a combination of hard and soft skills –attributes you can develop rather than subjects you learn in a classroom – to be truly in demand.

To assist both those now entering the world of work and those already there but looking to advance, Haynes outlined seven skills – three hard skills and four soft skills – that are very much in demand.

Data Analytics 

“Data is as big a premium as knowledge,” says Haynes. “Organisations are very interested now in reading the trends of customer feedback, reading the temperature with regard to employees’ feelings, and the culture within the organization, knowing what’s going to be the next big thing with regards to products and services.”

Digital Skills

The ability to navigate technology is and will continue to be key. Beyond the basics, Haynes says “coding is another big one with regard to being able to create apps or digital products that can help the customer or client deliver on what they want to.” She identified artificial intelligence and machine learning are two other in-demand digital skills.

Sale and Branding 

If you’re interested in being your own boss or personal brand, doing so successfully requires an understanding of sales and branding. These skills will be very valuable, especially for those in the gig economy. Knowing how to sell yourself, Haynes advises, is vital for those working under flexible conditions. People in these lines of work need to not only have the ability to communicate with the customer, but knowledge on how to effectively stand out and appeal to the right market.

Intellectual Curiosity

Haynes says that being open to acquiring new skills is one of the greatest assets you can have in the new world of work. “The biggest thing you can do is develop a continuous learning mindset, so when the global business mindset changes, you can easily pivot.”

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to interact with colleagues, both as an employee and as leader is tremendously important. People in leadership positions need to be “flexible and intuitive” and to engage with employees in a way that allows them to be most productive, while workers need to know how to collaborate with other team members.

Agile Leadership

A spinoff from emotional intelligence is agile leadership. “Knowing which type of leadership is suitable in which type of contexts, because one type of leadership will not work across all contexts.” To be maximally effective, leaders need to learn how to adjust their leadership style to suit the different personalities in the work place.


Speaking of her experiences in the UK, she says that one of the biggest complaints she hears from organisations is that their young employees are not prepared to deal with the realities of the work environment and needed too much support, so she encourages school-leavers entering the workforce to develop resilience and learn to be independent.

“We cannot underscore the importance of resilience and problem-solving.” Haynes says that while we can’t predict or control what will happen day to day, what we can manage is our response to it.

These are the skills that Haynes believes that developing will set you on your path to success in your professional life.