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May, 2018

The key skills of tomorrow will be behavioral

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaking up almost every industry in the world. In this new era, having strong technical skills does not suffice. Behavioral skills, or soft skills, are more and more sought after. Tomorrow, it will be the human capital that will make all the difference….

Cross functional skills are praised


Companies today must focus on transversal skills, which are highly strategic in the current talent war. Laurent Hurstel, Director at Robert Walters[1], is convinced of this: “Companies are demanding in regards to the profiles of those that they are hiring because market shares are hard to win. Thus, they are seeking candidates who are able to do several jobs throughout their career.”

Per the report on human capital issued by the World Economic Forum entitled “Preparing for the Future of Work”, here are the top 10 key skills that will be required in 2020:


tableau les 10 meilleures compétences entre 2020 et 2015

Virtually every single one of these key skills is behavioral, with complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, being in the lead. In fact, in 5 years, creativity will have climbed 7 spots, whereas emotional intelligence will have joined the list, in good standing.

Nuage de mots rouges dont un au milieu écrit en bleu brain change
Main de femme d'affaires qui touche un cube comme symbole de la résolution de problèmes

Models to reinvent


However, in schools, traditional skills remain the ones that are being emphasized, especially cognitive abilities, to the detriment of developing critical thinking skills and collaboration. Students are not prepared for what awaits them in the job market, such as having to change jobs regularly, and even having to invent their future position. Children have the natural ability to learn, which they seek out themselves through play. This ability is unfortunately hampered by traditional teaching practices, such as systematic competition and testing.

Encouraging children to learn through playful and positive activities primes them throughout their development, and beyond, to cultivate critical thinking and creativity, and to build resilience by practicing problem solving. And above all, build their self-confidence.

Similarly, recruitment and career management must be rethought to be in line with this skills’ logic, which candidates must have to obtain a job, and that employees must develop throughout their career, whether to evolve in their job or to compete for others.

Petite fille qui joue chez elle sur une petite voiture rose à imaginer voyager

It is possible to improve one’s behavioral skills!


You also received a traditional education? No need to worry! Contrary to what was still believed not even 10 years ago, we now know that it is possible to improve one’s behavioral skills thanks to the incredible plasticity of our brain, which allows it to be modified with experience. “Our brain can change, can create new neural pathways, every day, every hour, every minute. And contrary to what was previously believed, this phenomenon continues throughout our entire lives”, confirms Christelle Laurent, who is an industry coach. This means that with training, we can “reconfigure” our ways of doing things. Modern techniques of medical imaging have allowed scientists to observe dramatic changes in the brain of subjects who have undergone certain behavioral therapies.

To stand out while still being true to yourself, you can, for example, learn how to cultivate your divergent thinking, which combine different skills, such as anticonformism, curiosity, risk taking, collaboration and perseverance. The goal is to “break the mold”, as Todd Rose[1]encourages. He states in The Tyranny of the Norm that “society forces each one of us to conform to certain expectations that are limited to succeeding in school, in one’s career and in life. We force ourselves to be like others, or rather, to be like others, but a little better.”

To evaluate your divergent thinking, perform the paperclip test, conceived by Ken Robinson[1]. This test consists of imagining the number of purposes of a paperclip: would you be part of the 2% of people, over 25 years old, who can find other ways of using this instrument other than to hold papers together. For your information, in children between 3 and 5 years old, 98% of them are geniuses in divergent thinking…

You too can cause an upset and move towards a skills-based recruitment with the program “2018: 1 Year to Reinvent Recruitment”: http://6x2htucpe.preview.infomaniak.website/2018-1-annee-pour-reinventer-le-recrutement/

And to help your employees develop their behavioral skills, we also offer tailor-made courses mixing individual coaching and action-oriented training modules: http://6x2htucpe.preview.infomaniak.website/skillspot4organisations/.

Sources :


– Mirjam Schöning, World Economic Forum, « Les compétences dont votre enfant a besoin pour son futur emploi »,https://www.weforum.org/fr/agenda/2017/10/la-competence-dont-votre-enfant-a-besoin-pour-son-futur-emploi-9d68f18a-5869-4784-b9a7-e4ad534272e9/

– Keljob, « Les compétences transversales, c’est quoi exactement ? », https://www.keljob.com/articles/les-competences-transversales-c-est-quoi-exactement

– Stéphanie Combe, « Sortez du moule », La Vie, 10 mai 2018

– Christelle Laurent, « Peut-on vraiment changer ? », http://www.christellelauret.com/neuroplasticite/peut-on-vraiment-changer/


Crédits photos :

© Jakub Jirsak / 123RF
© Sergey Nivens / 123RF
© Yarruta / 123RF
© Arloo / 123RF

[1]International recruitment agency.

[1]Director of the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual at Harvard.

[1]Expert in education, specialist in the development of creativity and innovation.