5 Professional Skills You Will Need to Get Hired 20 Years from Now


So, you’re one of the lucky individuals who have the skills necessary to keep you employed – for now. Great! But how long will these skills remain relevant? More than 70% of young people are not sure, research indicates.

As a 2018 study by BAE Systems revealed, only 18% of young people aged 18-24 thought they possessed what it takes to future-proof their career. More than a half also believed they’d be doing jobs in the future that didn’t even exist at the time. And a great majority of them indicated they’d appreciate more guidance to identify the skills they might need later. 

Fortunately, experts are not staying idle. There’s been a number of studies aimed at spotting some jobs and careers that will be in demand 20 years from now. There also are some predictions about the skills that future professionals will need to master to stay employed. 

One of the most well-known of such studies was conducted by the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a California-based non-profit think tank, in 2018. It indicated 15 essential “super” skills that will be in demand in the job market in the future. 

These skills were then divided into 5 major groups – “peak performance zones”. These are:

  • Making yourself known;
  • Befriending the machines;
  • Building a tribe (i.e. a network);
  • Making sense (understanding the processes going on in the world);
  • Keeping it going (adapting to change and extreme environments).  

Out of these, as well as data from multiple other sources, we’ve distinguished the five major skills that you will need to get hired 20 years from now. 

1. Self-Promotion 

On a planet with a population of almost 9 billion people, it’s crucial to know how to make yourself noticed. You can have the most brilliant training and all the relevant skills in the world, but that won’t be of any good if you don’t know how to sell them. 

So, experts advise that every professional should learn to build their personal brand. Doing it involves multiple activities, from building a loyal following on social media to crafting a resume that will impress every recruiter.  

If you’re unsure about what skills you should or shouldn’t include in your resume, take a look at the articles at LinkedIn here or check examples sorted by industry on the same website. Also, remember to complement your CV and add new skills, accomplishments, and credentials as you attain them.  

2. Digital Literacy 

Knowing your way around in a world increasingly dominated by machines is one of the key skills that will be in demand in the decades to come, all experts agree. Surely, we’re not living in a futurist dream where robots do most of the work, but we just might be facing it very soon – so it’s better to get prepared in advance. 

Whether you see your dream job as something tech-related like here or not, there’s just no way you’re going to convince anyone to hire you if you lack basic (or not-so-basic) technical skills. Even writers, musicians, and artists of the future are going to have to deal with technology as complex as AI, scientists predict. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to learn to code, though it obviously might come in handy. What it does mean, according to IFTF, is that any professional working in practically any career field should “master human-machine collaboration” to be able to explore new exciting digital worlds where learning , working, and playing will all be mixed together more you can find at this page.      

3. Networking 

Though IFTF calls it “building a tribe”, what they basically mean is that networking will become even more important for future professionals striving to meet the requirements of the job market. 

Not that it isn’t important today. But 20 years from now, when the competition will most likely be even more fierce, it will be essential to have a network of professional connections to rely upon. Even today, everyone knows it’s much easier to apply for a certain job and land an interview when you know someone from the company – preferably, one of the managers. And that’s not going to change. 

However, the study map formulates the meaning of “tribe building” a bit more vaguely by stating that “you’ll need to master different kinds of trade” to be able to “build communities from the ground up”. Well, networking takes a lot – it’s hard to disagree.   

4. Creativity 

In order to thrive in the future world, one needs to “make sense of loopy complex systems”, according to IFTF. To put it simply, you’ll need the same skills that you used in school when solving geometry problems. In fact, they are basic – you wouldn’t even get your high school diploma without them at all! But people tend to forget about their importance once they leave school. 

Here, we’re talking creativity, but in a broader sense. You needn’t be an artist or a writer or a musician to be creative – coders need creativity, too. Every time you think outside of the box, search for unobvious solutions, suggest innovative approaches, you use creativity. And this is exactly the skill that can ensure your future prosperity, experts agree.    

5. Adaptability and Resilience 

Last but not least, you need to master adaptability and resilience to keep it all going. In an ever-changing, increasingly challenging environment like in this article , it’s crucial to stay strong and focused no matter what. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”, Stephen Hawking said, – and this ability is going to mean even more in 20 years’ time from now. 

As for resilience, it’s closely linked to the ability to think positively and see growth opportunities where others only see obstacles, experts say. If you can do that, you’ll be an invaluable employee for any company, today, or any time in the future. 


20 years may seem a long way, but time flies. So, now is the perfect moment to start honing the skills that will be in demand in the nearest future. Still, don’t forget to watch for new trends, too, as the predictions may change at any time. 


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