The Top Skills Needed to Thrive in 2022

Workplace upskilling is one of the significant trends in 2021. The practical use of upskilling is tremendous. For organisations, it helps to identify current skill gaps, diversify workforce’s skills, and meet challenges that come from digitisation trends and shortages in the talent market. For individuals, it helps to upskill and reskill in response to the "double-disruption" of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs takes hold.

💡 Did you know? The World Economic Forum estimates that half of all employees will have to reskill in the next five years.

What will be the top job skills that employers pursue in their employees in 2022? In this article, we will deep dive into the top skills of the future workforce needed to thrive in 2022.


1. Digital literacy

Digital literacy includes a wide range of competencies: computer problem-solving skills (software and hardware), social media, communication tools, online security, and more. More businesses are embracing the use of automation and technology and its impact on software, processes and work to increase business productivity and efficiency.

    • 52% percent of companies accelerated their AI adoption plans because of the Covid crisis, a study by PwC finds.
    • Just about all, 86%, say that AI is becoming a “mainstream technology” at their company in 2021.
    • Harris Poll, working with Appen, found that 55% of companies reported they accelerated their AI strategy in 2020 due to Covid, and 67% expect to further accelerate their AI strategy in 2021.

Research by MIT Work of the Future concludes:

‘AI will enable new industries to emerge, creating more new jobs than are lost to the technology”

Some courses to help you with your digital literacy skills:

2. Data analytics

There are two types of data: Unstructured and structured data. Unstructured data is qualitative data. They are text-heavy information such as results of surveys and sales chats, and comes in a variety of formats. Structured data is quantitative data. They are defined and searchable types of data.

Research from Forbes indicates that up to 95% of surveyed businesses admit that they need to manage unstructured data at their workplaces.

The more data (structured and unstructured) organisations accumulate, the more they need analysts and specialists who can manage, process, and interpret that data.

“As more organisations embrace emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning to become more data-driven, the list of essential skills should continue to evolve so that it reflects the growing importance of data literacy as a core competency in the workforce.”

− James Eiloart, SVP EMEA at Tableau Software.

Essential skills in this category include:

    • Knowledge of at least one analytical programming language like R, MATLAB, and Python;
    • Basics of SQL to write basic database queries;
    • Advanced Microsoft Excel skills; and
    • Practical use of popular Business intelligence (BI) software and tools.

Some courses to help you with your data analytics skills:

3. Data visualisation and exploration

Specialists in data visualisation interpret the data and organise it into meaningful information through a visual format such as dashboards, graphs, charts, tables, etc. Data visualisation is both an art and science because it requires both design skills, as well as statistical and computing skills to visualise data effectively. Data exploration involves an exploration of data content such as illustrating patterns, highlighting multiple variables, reducing complex subjects, adding customisability and easing communication.

Employers are looking for the following skills in this field:

    • Data visualization software like Tableau, D3.js, Google Charts, Microsoft Power BI;
    • Knowledge of data visualisation guidelines and best practices;
    • Knowledge of languages like R and Python.

Some courses to help you with your data visualisation skills:

4. Knowledge of learning strategies

In today’s fast-paced society, it’s important for professionals to keep their skills up-to-date. After passing a certification exam, an employee would still engage in occasional learning activities over an indefinite period of time within that certified subject matter to maintain mastery.

− Joe Miller, Vice President of Learning Design and Strategy at BenchPrep

In this paradigm, self-learning, peer-to-peer learning, and micro-learning strategies are essential.

Check out some of our curated resources here to help you make the most of your lifelong learning journey. Also, learn more about OpenCreds here: The micro-credential framework designed to meet the needs of the education sector, industry, and most importantly its lifelong learners.

If you are an education provider, OpenLearning has developed the Learning Design Series - a series of three online, self-paced short courses aimed to explore, discuss and learn about the 21st pedagogy and learning design strategies. Join our growing 17,000 learners from around the globe in the Learning Design Series:


5. Soft skills needed for the future jobs

With accelerating rates of automation and digitisation of working processes, the human capital (ie the human soft skills) of a business or an organisation is the key catalyst for implementing change. Therefore, the development of soft skills is imperative on employability and bringing value to workplaces.

In the “Soft Skills for Business Success” report, Deloitte analysts estimated that by 2030, almost two-thirds of all occupations would be based on soft skills. Moreover, a study by McKinsey shows that up to 30% of working time could be automated by 2030. For this reason, employees should focus on human soft skills which machines can't replace, for example, coming up with innovative solutions or interpreting complex data to meaningful information.

Some of the top soft skills of the future are the following:

    • Problem-solving
    • Negotiations and reasoning
    • Critical thinking
    • Self-management: Time management, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility, active learning
    • Leadership and social influence
    • Collaboration and teamwork
    • Conflict resolution
    • Creativity

Some courses to help you with your soft skills:


To keep up with these changes, individuals can focus on the range of soft and hard skills to bring value to their organisations and stand out from the talent market. Today, we can focus on developing soft skills such as problem-solving, self-management, collaboration, and creativity.

Hard skills for future employability resolves around digital literacy, data analytics and visualisations. These skills are bound to the adoption of digitisation and automation of working processes, and the decline in specific job roles.

The World Economic Forum indicates that soft skills could be learned in a matter of several weeks. Soft skills can be adopted simply into one's behavioural habits. Hard skills take longer to develop and master. It’s a commonly accepted fact that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master a skill.

Topics: Professional Development

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