Handy skills you might need to future-proof your career

AI might be taking over — although not like Skynet from the Terminator movies — yet nearly 50-percent of companies believe AI will be able to soon replace human roles, according to the World Economic Forum. This automation is expected to lead to a reduction in companies’ full-time workforce by 2022. And McKinsey & Company also predicts that by 2030, about 800 million jobs around the world will be replaced by bots. Rather than focus on the negatives, however, maybe it’s more useful to think about the skills we can build on to future-proof our careers.

“Predicting jobs of the future is fraught with difficulty,” according to Dominic Atkinson, founder of startup Stay Nimble. “Our unique human qualities will really define the jobs of the future. Our empathy, our divergent thinking, our creativity. The increasing capability of technology may actually make our work more human.”

Certain industries like banking, law and accounting are susceptible to automation. However, industries that still require a human touch like doctors, teachers and care workers are generally much safer. Unfortunately, a third of the global workforce might need to retrain to avoid losing their jobs. So, which skills do you need to work on to help future-proof your employability?

Social intelligence

This is one skill that cannot be underestimated. A lot of business and development takes place between meetings or at the bar. Knowing how to best communicate and connect with work partners can change results vastly. As business coach Colette Reilly reiterates, the ability to connect with people globally across cultures is “increasingly vital” and a skill that can help future-proof your career.


Copywriting is another valuable skill, even though AI can now write near-perfect news pieces. The ability to connect with an audience through nothing but words is a vital skill in sales, advertising and marketing. As business is seeking to impact people, genuinely human content is something AI cannot replicate.

According to careers coach Sherry Bevan, “Good copywriters for websites and for social media will always be in high demand to add the people story and the human content.”


The ability to adapt is no doubt essential to future-proofing yourself as the future job market is changing fast. In fact, 41-percent of future skills are likely to be acquired later in life. Figuring how to learn and grow efficiently should be your focus in order to survive, according to Dominic. A thirst for knowledge and a continuing commitment to learning after formal education will help to give you an edge. New opportunities come with learning and we need to be prepared to invest more of our time in learning.

Critical thinking, creativity and collaboration

These three Cs are all essential future-proof. By working with developing technologies, critical thinking in an age of misinformation, as well as creativity and collaboration, these skills become complementary with automation. People prefer to interact with other people. Empathy and understanding of behaviours are skills that cannot be replaced by machinery. As long as you are empathetic and passionate about everything you do in your career, having this drive and this skill will make you irreplaceable.

Learning is the key to future-proofing your career

While education and qualifications will continue to be important in the future, experts say what we learn and how we approach education needs to change. Honing your human and professional skills will keep you in good stead; employers need recruits who are personable and professional in how they communicate. While AI will continue to evolve and automation takes over, the only certainty in the jobs market is that change will continue to be fast.