best skills to learn 2024
Gymnasts aren't the only ones who need to be flexible. Source: AFP

Everyone needs to know the best skills to learn in 2024 and in every year after that. Young or old, graduate or not, we are all impacted by how the world is changing — and it’s doing so fast.

With this, jobs are changing.

According to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that one billion people will require reskilling and upskilling by 2030.

This means that whatever they’ve learned in school and university just two years or even two decades ago isn’t enough for them to find work as they lack advanced technology or specialised interpersonal skills.

Even if you’ve got a well-paying, highly secure job, knowing the best skills to learn in 2024 still pays — literally.

In one study, workers who trained in new skills for more than 100 hours earned a US$11,000 salary increase, while those who spent an hour to 19 hours doing so made a US$7,100 increase.

Big or small, learning a new skill is always a good investment for yourself and your career. But which are the skills that make the biggest impact? And why?

8 best skills to learn in 2024

1. Social and people skills

Social and people skills are one of the best skills to learn and are invaluable in many careers. One of them is as a project manager, a role that requires yu to be a leader, communicator, planner and organiser — all at once.

Hence why you need to be able to not only communicate but collaborate with people from around the world.

In an increasingly fractured world, being able to bring people together and build connections is a key skill that many companies will be glad to have around.

This can explain why roles such as “portfolio manager” and “project manager” command average salaries up to US$119,373 and US$93,043 respectively.

best skills to learn

Negotiation skills are one of the best skills to learn, especially in the business world. Source: AFP

2. Negotiation skills

With Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies on layoff sprees lately, this only highlights how crucial it is for us to learn how to negotiate.

In business, knowing how to get what you want is essential. You need to reach agreements with partners, secure contracts and resolve disputes.

This skill is also essential when you are negotiating a salary, benefits package, or promotion.

best skills to learn

Leadership skills could open the door to many opportunities and take your career to the next level. Source: AFP

3. Leadership skills

It’s not ideal but those who lead are those who earn more.

We live in a world where the world’s richest 1% own 43% of all global financial assets — which leaves us with little choice but to climb up the career ladder so we’ll have enough for ourselves and our families.

And to do that, companies are looking for those who can lead — i.e. those who can adapt to new circumstances, inspire confidence and guide teams.

Strong leadership involves setting a clear vision and direction for your team. As a good leader, you need to anticipate future trends, identify opportunities and develop long-term plans to achieve goals.

You are responsible for creating an environment where team members feel valued, empowered and motivated to work towards common objectives. Leadership skills such as communication, empathy, and conflict resolution are essential for building strong relationships and maximising team performance.

best skills to learn 2024

Creative thinking means coming up with unique, original solutions. Source: AFP

4. Creative and critical thinking skills

ChatGPT estimates it can replace 4.8 million jobs — and it’s probably not just boasting about itself.

With the rise of AI and other technological advancements, what separates us from robots is our uniquely human capability to be creative and critical.

A robot can’t navigate complex situations and effective solutions — if you can do this well, you’ll show your worth to companies and give them another reason to hire or promote you instead of inserting more prompts in ChatGPT.

One reddit user goes as far as calling his working relationship with someone without critical thinking as “torture” :”I’ve been currently stuck with a few in my life who have no concept of critical thinking at all. I can say from personal experience: living/working with someone without that skill is torture. For those who can/do we have to almost constantly explain basic concepts and clean up the mess of the one who doesn’t.”

best skills to learn 2024

Master how to use Google and make yourself indispensable to a company. Source: AFP

5. Digital literacy

Digital literacy is one of the best skills to learn to help you navigate this technology-driven world effectively, whether it involves using computers, mobile devices, software applications or online platforms.

Whichever field you’re in, you’ll benefit by starting out with understanding data. Every company needs someone who can help them interpret data.

Another key digital skill to start out with is knowing how to research. Master how to use Google and its many platforms, from Google Scholar to Google News, and teach yourself how to find information.

In the previous decade, being good in Microsoft Office was important — today, that has shifted to being good in Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets.

Knowing basic formulas and functions is a basic requirement most jobs ask for today. Master the complex stuff and you could advance your career further.

If you want to join content or digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine advertising (SEA) and lead generation are all valuable skills.

If you want to do well in business development, a beginner course in statistics, such as the University of Amsterdam’s free “Basic Statistics” course on Coursera, is a good option.

Being flexible is just as important in life as it is in yoga. Source: AFP

6. Adaptability and flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are essential skills for success in the future as it is needed to learn and adapt to new technologies, tools and platforms, ensuring you remain relevant and competitive in your field.

As the nature of work changes, you need to be ready to navigate these changes. Whether it involves transitioning to remote work arrangements, acquiring new skills for different job roles or embracing non-traditional employment opportunities.

As with the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that life is filled with unexpected twists and turns, including setbacks, failures and unforeseen obstacles. Acquiring this skill will help you bounce back from adversity, persevere and maintain a positive attitude.

best skills to learn

Coding is becoming more popular and is one of the best skills to learn for success. Source: AFP

7. Basic coding

Coding is increasing in popularity, and as such basic coding skills are one of the best skills to learn for the future.

Basic coding skills allow you to understand how technology works, interact with digital systems more effectively, and use technology to solve problems and accomplish tasks more efficiently.

The demand for workers with coding skills is growing across various industries. From software development and data analysis to web design and cybersecurity, proficiency in coding opens the doors to many career opportunities.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is predicted that there will be a 26% increase in employment for software developers. The field of web design will see a 17% growth by 2032.

best skills to learn

Due to the human interaction needed, medical professionals are most likely safe from AI taking over their roles. Source: AFP

8. Writing

Writing is undeniably one of the best skills you can learn. It allows you to express ideas, share information and convey your thoughts effectively both academically and professionally.

It is a skill that will never go out of style as we need it to communicate clearly and effectively. As a student, you need this skill to write essays, research papers or lab reports.

In the workforce, you need it to write emails, reports, proposals and presentations.

In fact, this skill is so important that it ranks as one of the top qualities employers look for in candidates.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4% of employers are looking for candidates who have strong writing skills.