7 skills the workplaces of today and tomorrow are looking for

Thanks to COVID (and we don’t say that often!) the concept of the future of work has become a concrete reality; the future of work is here, and employers are more certain than ever before of what skills they are looking for when hiring.  

The Mind Lab’s General Manager, Fee Webby, shares her insights on these skills and the role they play in shaping our future.


Just as the word refers to several concepts, so must we when referring to it. It’s not just about reducing our waste, it’s also about long term preservation. 

While it’s important to recycle and replace our takeaway coffee cups, sustainability includes thinking about long term solutions that look after our planet and our people for generations to come. What we do now impacts the future of our tamariki, and their tamariki, and so on.

Employers are looking for people that inherently get this approach and embed it into their everyday thinking and actions.


It’s more than just cooperation, it’s the unique skill that allows us to grow as people, to become more innovative and creative, to build safer work environments where everyone thrives.

Collaboration is about multiple generations with different cultural backgrounds, different physical abilities and different ways of thinking, working together to improve, pivot, innovate and to change what is not working. Collaboration is about building our people to be better humans.


New Zealanders are not typically a nation of continuous learners when it comes to further education, we tend to go to tertiary in our 20’s and presume we’re done. With the world moving so quickly with large societal, financial and environmental challenges, now more than ever we need to invest in what inspires our creativity and curiosity. And that is best done by following a curious thought: What if I did this? How could I change that? Why did that happen? Could this be done a different way? 

Diversity of thought is a currency we need to pay more attention to. Being curious and creative fleshes out new ideas which allows people, businesses and communities to pivot and build resilience, which helps us ride the wave when things get tough.


A fundamental skill. Problem solvers are needed across every organisation, every community group, every iwi, every family. The only way to successfully tackle challenges is to ensure that we exercise our problem solving muscles on a regular basis. 

Problem solving is not just about the big stuff, it is also about the small everyday stuff that changes what we do and how we do it. Having good problem solvers means that our businesses and communities can lean confidently into change, pivot when they need to and support their people so that they can get on with their jobs and lives. Having people that are open to ideas, open to listening to other points of views and coming up with multiple ways of solving the problem is what employers are looking for.


Anyone can be a leader and everyone is a leader. Currently we are seeing western views of leadership being challenged. No longer is the hierarchical, often male-dominated view of leadership something that people aspire to. We are witnessing a shift towards a more collaborative, values-based, purpose-driven, empathetic leadership. Vulnerability and courage are key attributes to this new leadership style.

The range of leadership models being demonstrated means that more individuals can follow different leadership styles. Leadership is defined by example, not by role; for example, leadership through service is a large component of our Māori and Pasifika culture here in Aotearoa.


Not everyone is, or needs to be an entrepreneur, but having this skill allows business to try different things, take risks, and innovate. Without entrepreneurs, we wouldn’t have a Rocket Lab, beautiful accounting from Xero, spring-free trampolines for kids, Allbird’s wool sneakers or even good coffee! Not all entrepreneurs are successful, but a key trait of an entrepreneur is that they are not afraid to try, and try, and try again. They know that failure is part of the innovation process. Many entrepreneurs have lost everything more than once before succeeding.

Another key trait of an entrepreneur is to be a visionary – to identify a need, to solve that need and to know what that need  looks like in scale. Entrepreneurs see things that others don’t, they spot opportunity, they make a move when others stand still. We need an entrepreneur mindset in big business – we need people who can create something where nothing was. Entrepreneurship is not just about making money; we have many examples of social entrepreneurs who are passionate about doing business for good like our very own Eat My Lunch.


Confidence comes from skills and knowledge, because when we open our hearts and our minds to new knowledge, new skills, new ways of doing things, new divergent thinking, then our confidence grows. 

Confidence isn’t about having all the answers, but it is about trusting yourself and knowing who you are. Confidence, paired with the ability to be humble, is a super power.

Acquiring these skills requires a different kind of educational approach; personal exploration and growth is essential to anchor value, purpose and joy; industry insight illuminates the way, and practical application provides the tools and methods of getting to where you want to go. 

Bridging the gap

HeyFuture! provides a safe space to get to grips with new concepts and flex new muscles whilst putting them into practice, in order to gain the confidence to take that next step to owning your future.

Read more about The Mind Lab’s method here or check out HeyFuture! for details on how we’re bringing these skills to life for 18-22 year olds.

Spread the knowledge

Interested in HeyFuture?

It’s a 2-week course designed to help young people bridge the gap between school/university and their next step. Build confidence, establish work-ready skills and connect with a network of inspiring speakers and businesses. Intakes running in December 2020 and February 2021.