Have you got the skills you need for the 21st-century workplace? Read about what employers are looking for and test yourself to see if you are prepared!

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Skills for the 21st-century workplace

Have you got the skills you need for the 21st-century workplace?

We need to develop all kinds of skills to survive in the 21st century. Some, like ICT skills and knowledge of the digital world, are taught explicitly in schools in the UK. Here are five less obvious ones for you to think about. These are the sorts of skills that employers may ask you questions about in interviews, so it’s a good idea to think about how good you are in these areas. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Imagination

In the age of technology that we are living in now, it is no longer enough to keep on making the same products. Employers need people who can imagine new approaches and new ideas.

Think: Think of an object or gadget you use every day. How could it be improved? Can you think of three improvements?

Problem solving

Employers will value workers who are able to see problems before they happen and come up with creative solutions.

Think: Imagine you are organising an end-of-term social event at school. Think of some problems that you could face. Can you think of any solutions?

Communication skills

Workers will have to be good communicators. They will have to be able to negotiate and discuss key issues and also write in a clear way without using too many words.

Think: How do people communicate with each other in the 21st century?

Critical analysis

Employers want workers who are able to recognise the difference between information that can be believed and false information.

Think: Use the internet to find out three facts about a celebrity or famous figure. Can you verify the information by checking other websites?

Decision making

Individual workers have a growing amount of responsibility. It is important to be able to evaluate a situation and be confident in making a decision.

Think: Which three things could you do to (a) be healthier (b) do better at school and (c) help others? Make a decision now to do at least one of these things. Then … just do it!

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Discussion

Which of the skills mentioned in the article do you think is the most important? Why?

Comments

studentnikas's picture
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studentnikas 5 June, 2020 - 12:13

From my standpoint, I think that nowadays the most important are communication skills. Workers need to be able to resolve arguments, complete tasks with their team efficiently, collaborate, discuss feedback with others, and negotiate when promoting a product. It shouldn't be difficult for an employee to form and express their opinion clearly. In this way, nothing is preventing you from talking about your ideas.
Furthermore, it is essential to work well under stress for example when dealing with manipulative coworkers or a boss which drains your energy. To add to this, it's necessary to accept criticism and learn from it and also connect with a variety of people with different personalities.
-Nika Š.

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Diver's picture
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Diver 12 May, 2020 - 10:26

I think the most important skills in the 21th century are communication skills. In our shop we have a lot of english or french speaking costumers. It's important that we are able to explain the products carfully in other languages. The costumers should understand what I have to explain about the products we sell.

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Tina - Coordinator's picture
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Tina - Coordinator 12 May, 2020 - 12:13

Hi Diver,

Thanks for your comments on LearnEnglish Teens. This website is specially for teenagers aged 13-17 years old but it sounds like you could be older than that. You are welcome to keep on using LearnEnglish Teens but if you are over 17, please do NOT post any more comments as we must keep this strictly for teenagers to interact with each other.
Best wishes, Tina (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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alena's picture
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alena 13 April, 2020 - 05:18

i think the most important skills in 21st century is communication skills.Because we have to tell people about our idea by communicated and we must to make sure they understand about it.

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kimphuc21's picture
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kimphuc21 28 November, 2019 - 04:08

In my opinion, the most important ability in the 21 century is communication skills. People who are able to communicate effectively are a success in every field of life. Good communication skills presentation help you put your point across effectively without involving unnecessary trouble of explaining yourself later.

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linhdan83's picture
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linhdan83 28 November, 2019 - 03:09

From my point of view, I think the most important skill in the 21st century workplace is communicating skills. If you work in a team or a group, you will have to communicate well to express your thoughts, your ideas to the others. Especially when you have a presentation, that's when the skill is most effectively used.

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Ngocthao60nna10's picture
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Ngocthao60nna10 21 November, 2019 - 05:53

In my opinion, the important skills that are required today are: problem-solving, communication skills and decision-making. Because almost every problem that happens in life requires us to solve it and if we want to solve it effectively we need more communication and decision making

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trucanh01's picture
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trucanh01 14 November, 2019 - 07:58

It is hard to say what the skill is the most important, but in my point of view, problem solving is the necessary skill. If you can see problems before they happen and solve them, every troubles will easy for you.

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hamynguyen's picture
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hamynguyen 13 October, 2019 - 05:05

In my opinion, all skills are potentially important in our life.However, I think communicate skills is most important fact that be able to help you much.If you are good at communicating or persueing with people ,you can earsily win in some part of life.I think so.

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havy230819's picture
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havy230819 2 October, 2019 - 09:08

For me, the most necessary skill is to communicate well with people. Because I am not a fluent speaker, I find it's hard to express my thought and share opinions when I have to work in a group. Although I want to speak out my ideas my words keep preventing me from showing myself to people. I find myself easy to get shy and hard to talk properly while facing others. Fortunately, nowadays social media has developed a lot so I can connect through them. But to be honest, good communication skills do help people pretty much and increase self-confident while speak.

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pink1208's picture
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pink1208 22 May, 2019 - 18:42

I think the most important skill in the 21st century workplace is communication skills. Because when you work in group, you will have to use your communication skills to expess your mind to thẻ people.

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Hoanghao251's picture
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Hoanghao251 16 May, 2019 - 17:59

Teamwork is an important skill. You can choose to work effectively and quickly through modern and classic methods.

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tunglamsbtc 16 May, 2019 - 16:02

I think there are many skills more. For instance, u should get used to work with stress because stress is like an "indispensable part" of any jobs. In addition, accepting and learning from criticism is also a necessary skill.

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Haocbs's picture
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Haocbs 16 May, 2019 - 14:45

In my personal opinion, communication skills are the most important because most jobs require you to communicate daily and you can success if you're good at communication.

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giapta123's picture
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giapta123 13 May, 2019 - 15:47

I think the most important ability in 21 st-century is team working and put every one in the right position. In my opinion there are no weak or talented people; all people are like gears that the employer should drop them in the right position so they could present the best job.

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Youjiro 4 February, 2019 - 14:26

I think today people want to earn money but It makes unbalance of human resource. Intelligent people gather America .It cause trade problem.American company is very competitive and faster growth because They have Higher performance worker.Then took higher education in college.They might earn lot of money in short term. social problem taught me approach of study. We should to study hardly prepare in the future. I know my weakness and strength. I will entire college to develop talent to get job. I want to study until PHD student . I will choose computer science in college .I want to learn modem technology because tranditional tech no longer used.

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lannot 23 January, 2019 - 19:49

In my opinion are the communication skills the most important. Now the days we all use social media and we use that to communicate with other people, but we most not forget that speaking face to face with another person is also very important and sometimes we don't keep that in mind. The communication skills are also important to stimulate a good teamwork between the employees. It means that the employees will work more efficient with a good communication.

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jelle's picture
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jelle 23 January, 2019 - 13:29

In my opinion think is the most important. as the text says, it is important that the internet can be used. Some people don't realize this but we do much more with the internet than we think. therefore I think this is the most important aspect. Everything is done more and more with the computer and the internet, think of payments. it is not only convenient but also in many cases necessary.

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englishexercise 17 January, 2019 - 19:22

In my opinion, Critical analysation is very important because nowadays there's a lot of wrong information spread as if it was true so we need the worker to be aware. I think that a good problem solver can help others by giving them solutions for their problems because he can think about everything logically and make the best choice even in the worst situations.

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dvdw's picture
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dvdw 14 January, 2019 - 15:46

In my opinion I think communication the most important skill is. Because people who communicate a lot will also be able to solve more problems than people who communicate less and they will also have a bigger imagination.

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parsasoroori's picture
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parsasoroori 6 January, 2019 - 21:20

I think the most important ability in 21 st-century is team working and put every one in the right position. In my opinion there are no weak or talented people; all people are like gears that the employer should drop them in the right position so they could present the best job.

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naturegirl's picture
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naturegirl 19 October, 2018 - 19:19

I think the most important skills in workplace in the 21st century are imagination and communication skills. I think so because in the world there are many different inventions so you need imagination to invent something new. Communication is important too because modern work is team work so you must be able to convey information to other people, usually by a digital tool.
In the article you write that imagination is important. So how to learn it? Can school teach skills like that?

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 14 June, 2018 - 04:03

Hi Samduykhanh. That means you are good at choosing and deciding things and taking action. When you choose something, you feel confident that your choice is the right choice. You don't feel unsure or indecisive. You never feel like 'I don't know what to do'. 

Does that help to understand it?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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Papili's picture
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Papili 8 September, 2017 - 09:34

I think that a good problem solver can help others by giving them solutions for their problems because s/he can think about everything logically and make the best choice even in the worst situations.

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hellokity's picture
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hellokity 1 September, 2017 - 09:41

in my opinion. imagination is the most important. Because when you have ideal to improve this problem. you can solve this problem you meet. and you can chose what the best slove.

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zilale's picture
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zilale 12 July, 2017 - 16:39

Problem solving. Bcoz problems are everywhere,Isn't it? We need to see problems before and solve them by nice way . I know not every problems have be solved but we have to try our best and avoild problems. ( If I make mistakes pls tell me, thank you )

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fay4's picture
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fay4 7 June, 2017 - 11:33

In my point of view, Critical analyse is the most important because nowadays there's a lot of wrong information spread as it was true ... so we need the worker to be aware of these kinds and able to search for the truth ... otherwise if he can search he'll be able to solve problems and imagine as well .
(( I write he but I mean both he and she )) ;)

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