Literacy Skills dominate Tomorrow’s Jobs

Julia Westera   Julia Westera
Robyn Foster   Robyn Foster

In a 2019 World Economic Forum article titled Humans wanted: why automation won’t kill off your job, Dave McKay, President and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, discusses a report his bank did on the economy of the 2020s, the occupations which will be in demand, and the skills needed to perform them. And his verdict? Digital fluency will be important, but so will literacy and numeracy.

Indeed, in a fluctuating market where half of all jobs are at risk, literacy dominates the top 5 skills of the 2020s. Here are those skills, with percentage of job openings which rank them as “very important”:

  1. Active Listening (58%)
  2. Speaking (52%)
  3. Critical Thinking (49%)
  4. Reading Comprehension (47%)
  5. Monitoring (28%)

All five are skills used in Reciprocal Teaching – Three Track (RT3T™), thereby preparing students for the future.

Of course, RT3T™ goes well beyond literacy skills. Students learn many other skills, including collaboration, leadership, focus, and perspective-taking. And classroom cultures are transformed, changing the way teachers teach and students learn. These core skills are all important for being ready for tomorrow’s workforce, for lifelong learning, for well-being and empathy, and for our future together in the 21st century.

As McKay points out in his article:

The reality is the children of today will grow up to work in tech-enabled jobs that very likely don’t even exist yet. To plan for that reality, it’s not just about coding, it’s about being human and acquiring competencies that offer more skills mobility, such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and complex problem-solving... The post-secondary model that thrived throughout the 20th century is no longer adaptable to the new needs of countries, companies and communities. We need to train youth in different ways, in addition to building infrastructure that will help support retraining and lifelong learning efforts for the existing workforce.

In other words, jobs come and go, technology changes, but literacy and learning skills remain vital.


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literacy future jobs future jobs employment