Talent for survival skills

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Essential skills for working in the machine age

Talent for survival

You may have heard that robots are coming for your job. Rapid advances in robotics, big data and artificial intelligence are beginning to disrupt entire industries, and technology is threatening to replace more than ten million UK workers.

What skills do you need to survive the rise of technology?

Reviewing the modern workforce: our analysis

  • The UK will benefit most from a workforce that has a balance of technical skills and more general purpose skills, such as problem-solving skills, creativity, social skills and emotional intelligence.
  • By 2030 the demand for STEM and general purpose skills will require the equivalent of at least 4.5 million additional workers in professional occupations. 
  • Social skills and cognitive abilities are valued most in our shifting national economy. 

But not all important skills and knowledge contribute to wage increases: the UK still has some way to go before vital jobs in education, health and social care, and many other nationally significant industries, feel the benefits of a workforce with the right mix of skills.

Talent for survival: Essential skills for humans working in the machine age

Which human talents are most important?

For each skill, ability or knowledge domain, we calculated the percentage of the total workforce – approximately 31 million people – for whom the characteristic would be of medium or high importance, using a scale running from the least important to the most important talent.

Talents that are important to the vast majority of the workforce can therefore be considered foundational – everyone needs them if they are to perform their job well and contribute effectively to the UK’s economy.

These essential talents, vital to 90 per cent or more of the workforce, are listed in the table below.

25 essential talents in the UK's workforce

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