Looking Forward: An Overview of Important Business Skills That Will Be Essential in 2020

In the near future, it is expected that smart machines and other technology will automate many jobs that exist today, changing the business skills that are currently in high demand. In the year 2020, currently described as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, it is expected that advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and machine learning will change over one-third of the skills that are considered important in the workforce today.


Financial services

The future of financial services will be greatly impacted by technology advancements. On the back of the global financial crisis and heading into the future, finance skills will remain in popular demand. Applied finance, the skill of being able to navigate and understand the complexity of changing world markets and to understand how to grow wealth, will remain a desirable skill in the future economy.

Technology literacy

We live in an increasingly technology based word.

In the year 2020 it will, therefore, be essential for business individuals to understand technology trends and be able to utilize these in the workplace. Skill development for the workforce will need to be based on technology literacy, as advancements will change the nature of the skills that people need in the workforce. As technology is expected to automate many current jobs and skills utilized by human workers, understanding how to use all forms of technology will be vital to securing a position in the workforce in the future.

Data analysis

It is estimated that the Internet has doubled in size every year since 2012.

Even now, a simple internet search can turn up millions of links. This has made data analysis one of the most in-demand skills for the modern workplace. The pace of internet development in the future is likely to be astounding. There are a number of published articles which have attempted to predict how the Internet will develop over the next decade.

Most agree that as the internet already connects to alarm clocks, phones, cars and household appliances, it is likely to extend further to fulfill our desire to connect everything possible to the internet. Therefore as we already swim in oceans of data, most of which is irrelevant to our unique purposes, the skill of extracting relevant and accurate data will be increasingly vital in the future.

Work hard

Transdisciplinary working

In the year 2020 workers will need to be able to collaborate across multiple disciplines and skills. While they may have expert knowledge in one field, it will be necessary to have knowledge across a range of associated disciplines to remain relevant and competitive in the future workforce.

Current job seekers are already being advised to demonstrate hybrid skills that can make the useful in different arenas, as a merging of functions has become evident in the modern workplace.

Social intelligence

Robotics and other technological advancements do not negate the need for workers to have strong social skills in the workforce. In the future social intelligence will necessitate cross-cultural skills, allowing workers to be comfortable working with and marketing towards different cultures and generations.

Strong interpersonal skills, human interaction and the ability to manage business relationships will continue to play a fundamental role in the workforce of 2020.

Innovative and adaptive thinking

In a world that is constantly changing, open-mindedness is an increasingly important skill to demonstrate in the workplace. Innovative and adaptive thinking is based on the simple concept of both discovering and embracing new ways to accomplish tasks. In the year 2020 and beyond, this skill will be increasingly vital within the workplace.


Powerful new developments are already shaping the world of work, influencing the technology-driven future of the workforce we can expect in 2020. Some factors which will influence the business skills that will be essential in 2020 include the proliferation of information, global connection through social media and smartphones, increase in robotics and an increase in the global sourcing of workers.

Investing in your personal development in regards to these skills will ensure you remain a competitive player in the future workforce.