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A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity

This paper reports on a search for the New Foundational Skills of the digital economy. How and when do evolving skills change the job market? Which skills are in demand in both digitally intensive jobs, and more broadly? Which skills retain their value over time? If such a set of emergent, critical skills exists, how do the skills interact, and what do they mean for job seekers and incumbent employees, educators, and employers? To find out, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) commissioned Burning Glass Technologies to examine skills in the job market by drawing from a set of more than 150 million unique U.S. job postings, dating back to 2007. The research identified 14 skills that have become foundational in the new economy, which converge in three interrelated groups: Human Skills, business skills, and digital skills. Human Skills have a long history of close study, so BHEF and Burning Glass are especially pleased to subject these two other major segments of the skills continuum – Business Enabler and Digital Building Block Skills – to similar scrutiny. These 14 foundational skills play major roles in the economy and in the lives of job seekers and incumbent employees. They increase in value when used in combination. They often command salary premiums. They help individuals and institutions keep pace with change. Critically, they are in high demand in multiple sectors, and are spreading rapidly throughout the wider economy