May 31, 2022
The Department for Education (DfE) and the Skills and Productivity Board (SPB) commissioned RAND Europe and the Institute for Employment Research (IER), University of Warwick, to undertake qualitative research looking into changing skills needs. This research draws on 28 expert interviews and four workshops to answer the question how skills needs will change in the four priority areas (i.e. health, science and technology, managers, and skilled trades) over the next 5–10 years.
This study finds that skills related to knowledge and relevant technologies are required in the next 5–10 years. Digital literacy is already an essential requirement, with degrees of digital skills required in different sectors and occupations. However, across roles, skills around understanding of data will only increase in importance as responsibilities for data handling and security are shared across organisations.
Some specific technical skills are needed in health and trades such as those related to the ability to adapt clinical skills to developments in health and care, knowledge of the technical basis of work and understanding of relevant standards and legislation.
Expected changes in the occupations and emerging skills point to: (i) skills needs in using specific new hardware; (ii) data science skills; (iii) the need to apply skills to future-related goals such as combatting climate change. Participants suggested that the promotion of multiple routes into occupations, along with clear definitions of skills and qualifications, should be improved.
People and communication skills are and will continue to be needed, including to complement the use of digital skills and communicate about these to colleagues and the public. Teamwork skills are and will be key in addressing complex needs in coordinated way. Skills around planning and communicating long-term strategy, exploiting opportunities and managing risks were seen as especially important for managers and health professionals.
The importance of skills related to equality, diversity and inclusion was emphasised. However, the need to move from awareness to action was also thought to require skills in driving change in organisational culture. This issue was also highlighted as an area for policy intervention and collective industry effort.