A Critical Look at the World Economic Forum’s Skills of 2025: Why We Need a Better List

As we navigate the complexities of the modern workforce, it’s crucial to equip ourselves with the right skills. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Top 15 Skills of 2025” is a widely referenced guide, but it’s not without its shortcomings. While the WEF list highlights important areas, it’s more about what they left out that concerns me. This blog post delves into these gaps and proposes a more comprehensive skills list to better prepare for the future.

The World Economic Forum’s Top 15 Skills of 2025

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Active learning and learning strategies
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Critical thinking and analysis
  5. Creativity, originality and initiative
  6. Leadership and social influence
  7. Technology use, monitoring and control
  8. Technology design and programming
  9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  10. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  11. Emotional intelligence
  12. Troubleshooting and user experience
  13. Service orientation
  14. Systems analysis and evaluation
  15. Persuasion and negotiation

What’s Missing in the WEF Skills List?

The WEF’s list certainly includes valuable skills, but its omissions are significant. Here are three critical areas the list fails to address:

  1. Ethics and Integrity:
    • In an era where corporate scandals and ethical breaches are not uncommon, fostering a strong sense of ethics and integrity is vital for sustainable and responsible business practices.
  2. Environmental and Sustainability Awareness:
    • With the increasing focus on combating climate change, skills related to sustainability and green technologies are indispensable. Businesses and societies must prioritize reducing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices.
  3. Cross-cultural Competence:
    • As globalization continues to blur geographical boundaries, the ability to work effectively across cultures, understanding diverse norms, and leveraging this diversity is critical.

The Missing Financial and Economic Skills

One of the most glaring omissions in the WEF list is the lack of finance and economic skills. In today’s world, understanding personal and corporate finance, budgeting, investing, and economic principles are crucial. This omission raises concerns that the WEF might want to maintain exclusive authority over these areas, limiting broader financial literacy and economic understanding among the workforce.

Additional Skills to Consider

Apart from the above-mentioned gaps, here are some additional skills that I believe are crucial for the future:

  1. AI and Machine Learning Proficiency:
    • Understanding and working with AI technologies, including machine learning, neural networks, and AI ethics, is becoming increasingly essential as AI permeates various industries.
  2. Cybersecurity Skills:
    • With the rise in cyber threats, understanding cybersecurity principles and practices is essential for protecting data and systems.

The Proposed Comprehensive Skills List

To address these gaps and ensure a more rounded development of skills, I propose the following 20 skills list, which integrates essential areas overlooked by the WEF:

  1. Financial and Economic Literacy
  2. Analytical Thinking and Innovation
  3. Active Learning and Learning Strategies
  4. Complex Problem-Solving
  5. Critical Thinking and Analysis
  6. Creativity, Originality and Initiative
  7. Leadership and Social Influence
  8. Technology Use, Monitoring and Control
  9. Technology Design and Programming
  10. Resilience, Stress Tolerance and Flexibility
  11. Reasoning, Problem-Solving and Ideation
  12. Emotional Intelligence
  13. Troubleshooting and User Experience
  14. Systems Analysis and Evaluation
  15. Persuasion and Negotiation
  16. Cross-Cultural Competence
  17. Ethics and Integrity
  18. Environmental and Sustainability Awareness
  19. AI and Machine Learning Proficiency
  20. Cybersecurity Skills

Why Replace the WEF List?

I’m not a big fan of the World Economic Forum. Their influence and the controversies surrounding their policies and initiatives prompt a critical look at their recommendations. By relying on their list, organisations might inadvertently legitimise or align with the WEF’s controversial stance.

Moreover, the WEF list’s lack of focus on finance and economic skills is worrisome. This omission could suggest an intention to maintain exclusive authority over these areas, potentially limiting broader financial literacy and economic understanding among the workforce. This raises a critical question: What kind of world does the WEF want to build by omitting such key skills?

The Way Forward

I propose that each organisation creates its own skills list, tailored to its specific needs and values, rather than adhering strictly to the WEF’s recommendations. This approach ensures relevance and alignment with the organisation’s goals while avoiding the controversies associated with the WEF.

My suggested list is meant to demonstrate that we don’t have to accept what is given to us blindly; we can and should critically analyse and improve upon it. This exercise in critical thinking is essential. The WEF, by providing a good list, makes us agree with them but skips the part where we investigate why that list was chosen over another. When we see the skills they didn’t include, we gain a better understanding of their agenda.

An interesting exercise could be to shorten this skill list to the top 10, or even top 5, to see what we really prioritise. However, I have a strong conviction that in any list I create, finance and economic skills would remain integral components.


While the WEF’s skills list has valid points, the omissions and the potential implications of relying on it necessitate a more comprehensive and inclusive approach. The proposed 20 skills list aims to fill these gaps and better prepare individuals for the future workforce. By questioning and refining the skills we value, we ensure a more balanced and prepared workforce for the challenges ahead.

ChatGPT Notes:

In this interactive collaboration, Manolo and I (ChatGPT) worked together to create a comprehensive blog post critiquing the World Economic Forum’s skills list and proposing a more inclusive alternative.

  • Manolo provided valuable input, including:
    • Guidance on the blog post’s focus
    • Specific instructions for developing the content
    • Feedback on initial drafts, leading to several revisions and enhancements
    • Suggestions for additional skills to include
    • Emphasis on the importance of critical thinking and independent analysis

Manolo generated all the accompanying images using MidJourney.