Skills for the 21st-century workplace

Skills for the 21st-century workplace

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!


Do the preparation exercise first. Then read the article and do the other exercises.


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?


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!


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

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Submitted by haydendemonlizard on Thu, 01/05/2023 - 15:13

I think the most important skills in workplace in the 21st century are imagination, comunication and anything that can only be done by people. Many old jobs are going to be replaced by robots so it's very important to develope different skills than the ones wich were more used in the past.

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Submitted by Muhammad Hamay… on Fri, 12/09/2022 - 16:49

In my opinion, in the 21st century most important skill is to communication skill and problem-solving skills are very important we live in the modern world we spend most of our time on the internet and we communicate with each other and recently many new technologies introduced in the future technology change itself briskly

Submitted by phamMay on Mon, 05/30/2022 - 04:16

I think one of the most important skills is critical analysis for the following reasons. In the age of technology, there are so many ways to approach information and it is hard to verify them. Hence, it is necessary to be able to differentiate between reliable and false information.

Submitted by lucalvesilva on Sat, 05/21/2022 - 11:07

For sure communication skills are the most important ability to work on. We don't have to know everything but if you can communicate what you want effectively, you'll be able to achieve your goals. All things considered, you must be honest to talk about problems in projects, to stress some points like drawbacks and ask for some help to your coworkers.
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Submitted by oliacream on Wed, 03/16/2022 - 13:43

In my opinion, the most beneficial skill is communication skill for the following reason. Employees have to convince their opponents when negotiating in order to gain benefit for a company. Hence, I can assume that this soft skill is vitally important.
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Submitted by Darkside on Mon, 12/13/2021 - 15:22

I think that communication is the most important because we can achieve a lot if we can efficiently talk to each other and fight for our opinion.

Submitted by dhadzikadunic on Sat, 11/20/2021 - 20:23

I think that solving problems and communications skills are the most important skill you need because you need to communicate with other people and you need to know how to fix problems that cause issues at work.

Submitted by Mellamomeli on Sat, 11/13/2021 - 10:17

There are many important skills. I think that skill to organise the time is a most important. Nowadays people’s have a lot of thinks, works and things they need to do. It is very hard if can not organise time and well relax

Submitted by merve on Wed, 04/07/2021 - 06:47

In my opinion, the best skill for century is technology literacy. We must learn a programming language for this. İn the near future robots will use in industry, health, and agriculture. This robot will be equipped with artificial intelligence (AI). If we learn technology we can control the future.
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Thu, 01/21/2021 - 06:47

In my opinion in 21st century communication and IT skills are very important, because in this age of technology we all use electronic devices and as we can see day by day more and more robots help us to do some job or just replace the human workers. Therefor it needs more people who will be able to create, develop and service AI.

Submitted by Mellamomeli on Sat, 11/13/2021 - 10:07

Yes, now living without minimal IT skills very hard, people need computer for study, working and also noon

In reply to by Kostantinus

Submitted by 0779044675 on Mon, 12/14/2020 - 08:30

In my opinion, the twenty-first century soft skills are a very practical and important thing for future work. we should learn and practice at a young age

Submitted by Moony on Sat, 08/15/2020 - 17:06

I think that the most important is communication skills because in lots of important business they just want more and new inversionist .

Submitted by Mamou1 on Thu, 08/06/2020 - 10:22

In my opinion all the skills mentioned in the article are important. because nowadays you can't find a job or doing an activity without this skill even if it' an activity that its not important. in the 21 century you must be able to communicate, resolve problems ,have a imagination, make a decision when the situation is complicated, and you must be able to analysed information to survive in this world indeed that's why all this skills are important nowadays.

Submitted by Ru on Fri, 07/24/2020 - 17:51

I think the most important things is communication in 21 century then the our county.

Submitted by studentnikas on Fri, 06/05/2020 - 11:13

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.

Submitted by Diver on Tue, 05/12/2020 - 09:26

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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Submitted by Tina - Coordinator on Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:13

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)

In reply to by Diver

Submitted by alena on Mon, 04/13/2020 - 04:18

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.

Submitted by kimphuc21 on Thu, 11/28/2019 - 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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Submitted by linhdan83 on Thu, 11/28/2019 - 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.

Submitted by Ngocthao60nna10 on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 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

Submitted by trucanh01 on Thu, 11/14/2019 - 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.

Submitted by hamynguyen on Sun, 10/13/2019 - 04:05

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.

Submitted by havy230819 on Wed, 10/02/2019 - 08:08

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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Submitted by pink1208 on Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:42

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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Submitted by Hoanghao251 on Thu, 05/16/2019 - 16:59

Teamwork is an important skill. You can choose to work effectively and quickly through modern and classic methods.
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Submitted by tunglamsbtc on Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:02

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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Submitted by Haocbs on Thu, 05/16/2019 - 13:45

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.

Submitted by giapta123 on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 14:47

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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Submitted by Youjiro on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 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.

Submitted by lannot on Wed, 01/23/2019 - 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.

Submitted by jelle on Wed, 01/23/2019 - 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.

Submitted by englishexercise on Thu, 01/17/2019 - 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.

Submitted by dvdw on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 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.

Submitted by parsasoroori on Sun, 01/06/2019 - 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.

Submitted by naturegirl on Fri, 10/19/2018 - 18:19

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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Submitted by Samduykhanh on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 02:29

Excuse me, what does decision making mean?
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Submitted by Jonathan - Coo… on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 03:03

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)

In reply to by Samduykhanh

Submitted by Daka on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 09:28

I love this topic. I made the exercises above and my sel-confidence about English grows!
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