Worldwide Employability Trends: Pt.1: The Future of Work Paradigm

Undoubtedly, the acclaimed "future of work" paradigm is the hottest commonplace in today's accelerated, fastmoving marketplace. Over the last three years, various global organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, have released many documents and reports on this unparalleled change which is reframing both the foundations and the core of work itself.

Due to such a disruptive change or evolution, we have come to understand a phenomenon called "the knowledge society" or "the knowledge economy". As summarized in a global report conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, "learning at the speed of algorithms requires more than algorithms themselves."1 This is the reason why both knowledge and learning are today’s very algorithms, with data at its core as the new gold.

Never before have talent and innovation been so intimately linked to each other and as interconnected as they are today. According to The Changing Nature of Work report, released by the World Bank in 2019, investing in human capital is the key to making the most of this evolving knowledge economy.2

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Three types of skills are increasingly important in the knowledge economy: advanced cognitive skills such as complex problem-solving, socio-behavioral (or soft) skills such as teamwork, and skill combinations that are predictive of adaptability such as reasoning and self-efficacy – self-confidence in other words.3 Building these skills requires strong human capital foundations and lifelong learning. As the World Bank states, jobs that rely on interpersonal interaction will not be readily replaced by machines. However, to succeed at these jobs, sociobehavioral skills – acquired in one’s early years and shaped throughout one’s lifetime - must be strong.4

“As the world fills with more sophisticated AI and ubiquitous technology, human skills – compassion, empathy, etc. – will define the competitive edge of workers and entire organizations. So those interested in thriving in a high-tech world must put renewed prioritization on emotional intelligence and soft skills.”
Inc Magazine: “This is the Most In-Demand Skill of the Future”, July 22nd, 2019

The innovation-driven knowledge economy requires creative workers who are increasingly curious, eager to adopt new technologies before everyone else and will champion the lifelong path of rigorously advancing their technical, creative and social abilities well into the future.5

Without a doubt, the future rooted in today’s turbulent, rapidly changing context will not mirror today. For better or worse, we need to prepare ourselves as a society by developing skills that will serve to improve our professional prospects as the times change and we enter the next phase of the knowledge economy evolution – the so-called omnipresent digitalization.


[1] The Boston Consulting Group, “Competing on the Rate of Learning,” BCG Bruce Henderson Institute, August 24, 2018.
[2] The World Bank Group, “The Changing Nature of Work,” 2019 World Development Report, Washington DC, 2019.
[3] McKinsey & Co., The Automation Imperative,” McKinsey Global Survey, 2018.

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