Leadership 2020: 10 Workforce Trends + 10 Critical Leadership Competencies

Building on the theme of our last blog on Future Work, we look at ten trends that are shaping the employment landscape in the next decade. Out of these trends, we identify ten leadership competencies that we think will be critical for 2020 leaders. Our ten trends and ten competencies have been compiled from a literature review that includes whitepapers, research reports, government(s) data sources, studies and surveys, books and more, tapping the minds of leading authorities in each of the ten trend areas (see graphic below). We’ve also included our recommended reading if you’re interested in learning more. We hope this post stimulates your thinking about whether your current and future leaders are prepared for 2020 and beyond.

10 Workforce Trends

We are living in a time of exponential change. The world of work is changing at an unprecedented rate. By 2020 the workforce will look significantly different than today. For example:

  • Employee Diversity: There are five generations and much greater cultural diversity in the workplace than ever before, leading to a broader set of values and beliefs than today.
  • Employment to Deployment: One in two workers will be contingent and talent will be deployed and redeployed from around the world as internal and external labor becomes more mobile. Teams will form to tackle projects, after which they will disband. Work will be done anywhere, anytime in the world.
  • Knowledge Work and Skills Shortages: Three in four jobs will demand higher entry level qualifications as the demand for “knowledge workers” grows and the march towards a knowledge and service economy completes its course. Skills shortages will challenge growth and innovation, especially among STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career workers.
  • Technology: One-third of all data will live in or pass through the cloud. Technology will connect employees, partners, clients and prospects, making collaboration, transparency and communication vital for success. Information will need to flow faster and in all directions. Robotics, machine learning and AI will impact labor markets and the skills demanded of its workers.
  • Sustainability: An organization’s lifespan will drop from 45 years to less than 10. To survive, organizations will need to be agile, innovative and demonstrate sustainable practices that are socially responsible.

10 Leadership Competencies

How will this impact the 2020 Leader? Organizations must radically rethink all of their stakeholder interactions, especially those involving their human capital. This includes how to acquire, deploy, develop and retain their people. Bold leadership characteristics will be required to ensure your business adapts and thrives. From our research, we’ve distilled the following competencies that we think will be critical for the 2020 Leader:

What is your organization doing to prepare your current and future leaders and how many of these competencies are being developed? Included below are some of our top picks to learn more and to stay up to date with the trends and how organizations are responding.

Recommended Reading & References


Post by AJO

Founded on core family values and a commitment to building strong, long-lasting partnerships, AJO approaches its work with confidence and expertise that only comes with over 40 years in the business. Working with companies of all sizes, needs and budgets, AJO develops high-performing teams and global leaders for organizational success.