Making Sense Of Critical Core Skills For The Future Of Employment
In this age of data, automation and generative artificial intelligence, technical skills and data literacy will remain essential. But that does not mean we ignore the human side of work. In many cases, transferable soft skills and competencies are becoming crucial for employability and career mobility. While we continue to adapt to the new norm, how do we ensure we have the skills to stay relevant?


Levelling up with Critical Core Skills

Critical Core Skills (CSS) were unveiled in August 2020 by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), derived from the Generic Skills Competencies (GSC), which refer to the standard and transferable skills enabling individuals to be employable and stay employed. The purpose of CCS is to establish a common skill language for individuals, employers and training providers, which can aid in recognising qualitative skills, also known as soft skills for career development. These soft skills include self-management, learning agility, team management and adaptability.

The inaugural SSG Skills Demand for the Future Economy Report, launched in December 2022 by Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing, identified high-growth areas that present increasing opportunities for the local workforce while showcasing the importance of CCS. These soft skills are just as necessary as technical skills as it complements and helps individuals to interact effectively with others, build positive relationships, and succeed in a rapidly changing work environment.

CCS consists of 16 competencies that are further grouped into three skill clusters and regarded as the most essential. The three clusters are:

Image by SkillsFuture Singapore via “Critical Core Skills – What They Are And Why They Matter”.

Skill Cluster #1: These are cognitive skills that one needs to think broadly and creatively, enabling one to consider connections and be aware of opportunities during moments of change. These can be seen as the root of technical skill development and progression, which consists of five competencies – Creative Thinking, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Sense Making, and Transdisciplinary Thinking.

Image by SkillsFuture Singapore via “Critical Core Skills – What They Are And Why They Matter”.

Skill Cluster #2: These skills let one effectively interact with others by thinking about the needs of others, exchanging ideas, and building on a shared understanding of a problem. This cluster consists of six competencies – Building Inclusivity, Collaboration, Communication, Customer Orientation, Developing People and Influence. There is an increasing need to combine all of these with technical skills to achieve success.

Image by SkillsFuture Singapore via “Critical Core Skills – What They Are And Why They Matter”.

Skill Cluster #3: Staying Relevant is to manage yourself effectively and paying attention to trends impacting work lives, create strategies, direction and motivation for technical skill development. These include five competencies – Adaptability, Digital Fluency, Global Perspective, Learning Agility and Self-Management.

Do not ignore your soft skills gap for the future of employment

The COVID-19 pandemic catalysed a new way of working and learning. ‘The Future of Jobs Report 2020’ by the World Economic Forum highlighted that 50% of workers worldwide will need to reskill to keep their jobs by 2025, and 40% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. The focus is to be future-ready in acquiring new skillsets for the new roles that will emerge with changing landscapes in the future economy.

Improving one’s qualitative skills is one of the biggest Learning & Development (L&D) challenges in a world increasingly reliant on technology. It may no longer enhance your job application for a role but instead has become a requisite. As we propel into the future of work in a world that is in constant motion, soft skills will give you an edge so that you remain viable in your career.

Develop your soft skills with SIM’s CCS-aligned modular training programmes

As part of SIM’s mission to support individuals from all walks of life looking to invest in their future, these CCS-aligned modular training programmes offer a unique, experiential learning opportunity. Designed in collaboration with Project Zero, an education research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the programmes consist of two concepts of “Unlearning”. Each module will help employees to unlearn dated approaches and develop proficiency/competency to identify career goals to excel in their current or new roles.

If you are interested in enhancing your career longevity or looking to move to a managerial role, the Career-Learning-Planning Programme will assist you in transforming your career trajectory. Run over four days, each course enables the student to develop strategies for self-development, be equipped with tools and techniques for their career, and learn how to lead and develop others. The beauty of developing these qualitative skills is that they are highly transferable and can be applied to any job. It increases an individual’s chances of employability as constant skill development is vital for personal and professional development.

For employers, building and instilling soft skills in every employee provides countless advantages for their organisation. The impacts of COVID-19 have forced employers and their employees to respond and adapt to change rapidly. With just four courses, the Business Resilience Programme is designed to help employers and PMETs reskill and upskill to transform organisations to stay nimble and agile.

While we cannot foresee the future of work, we can make plans to be future-ready through continuous upskilling and reskilling. Individuals will need to prepare themselves, and organisations need to level up their employee skills to enable adaptability and agility.

Learn more about available CCS-aligned modular training programme bundles at and register your interest today.