The world of work is changing faster and more drastically than at perhaps any other time in recent history. According to research from the World Economic Forum, 35% of the skills necessary to thrive in a job today will be different five years from now.

How can we prepare for a workplace of the future if we’re not quite sure what it will look like? What skills or expertise should students focus on acquiring today if they want to succeed tomorrow? We spoke with five experts from the Forum’s Young Global Leaders community to get their opinion.

Companies will want soft skills – so we must focus on teaching them

Esteban Bullrich, Argentinian Minister of Education
Esteban Bullrich,阿根廷教育部长

A child today can expect to change jobs at least seven times over the course of their lives – and five of those jobs don’t exist yet.

To get a better understanding of the skills needed in these jobs of the future, we conducted a country-wide survey of almost 900 companies. The results confirmed that soft skills – such as teamwork, knowledge of digital tools, an understanding of rules and regulations, responsibility and commitment – are the most relevant for the future.

How can we teach our children these skills? In Argentina, we’re revolutionizing our curriculum to ensure they’re being taught across all subjects. And in Buenos Aires, we’ve introduced innovative classes like coding and entrepreneurship.

But the revolution extends beyond the school gates. For example, we’ve created neighbourhood youth clubs where children can continue learning these skills after the school day is over. We’re also ensuring that each student completes a 200-hour professional practice course, so they can apply all the skills they’re learning to the world of work.

Data literacy with a strong dose of empathy

Belinda Parmar, Chief Executive Officer, The Empathy Business
Belinda Parmar,“同理心企业”的首席执行官

Data is one of the driving forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But sometimes, when we perceive the world through data-driven models, it can become harder to see the humanity behind the numbers. Technology thus has the potential to erode our sense of empathy.

The great challenge of the next 10 years for corporations and institutions will be to rebuild the empathy that we’ve lost. Companies will be looking for leaders who are able to help them do that – people with a trio of technical, linguistic and mathematical skills, who can make sense of the torrents of information that will continue to emerge.

This will require a new kind of “data literacy”, which will be in short supply, and therefore one of the most important skills of tomorrow.