Did you know that companies, industry specialists and academicians value one master skill over all the others?

The workplace is continuously evolving, and in order to be able to adapt, stay ahead, learn and apply new information immediately, the key is knowing ‘how to learn‘.

This one core skill is like the magic key that unlocks every other door in the workplace for you.

Knowing ‘how to learn’ allows you to:

  • advance more quickly in the job you have
  • change careers on a dime if you need or choose to
  • increase your earning power
  • more easily ascend to coveted leadership positions
  • be able to train others effectively
  • become masterfully more productive
  • cut your learning time in half
  • become nearly recesssion proof due to your learning flexibility

Here’s why knowing ‘how to learn’, is the skill that can make help make you nearly recession proof and is the most important work skill of the 21st century.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that millions of jobs globally are going to change completely because of advances in technology.

However, this does not mean there is a lack of employment opportunities.

The WEF’s 2020 Jobs of Tomorrow report predicts 96 emerging professions will keep pace with the digital evolution in the workspace.

That same report also predicts 6.1 million new job opportunities worldwide in a variety of fields.

These jobs will include data and artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, product development, etc., as well as growing fields like marketing, content creation and sales.

So, in order to be able to adjust to these massive changes, you’ll need to understand how to learn and be apply to apply new information to keep up with the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Learning how to learn will be your most valuable core skill.

It’s the skill that lets you undertake every new learning scenario with a formula that lets you know, before you even begin, that you’re going to be successful.

Let’s take a look at all the benefits of the most important work skill of the 21st century – knowing how to learn.

The Most Important Work Skill of the 21st Century

Here are 5 benefits you’ll enjoy by knowing how to learn anything, at any time.

1. Knowing ‘How to Learn’ Helps You Upskill and Reskill

Upskill and reskill are buzzwords you hear because information overload and keeping up permeate the 21st century workforce.

Simply put, upskilling is building on your current skills and adding new ones in your existing profession or field.

Reskilling is learning an entirely new skillset for a different profession or field.

When you understand how to learn, you can easily do both.

By 2022, some 76 million jobs are expected to be displaced by technology.

By knowing about that now, you can upskill and reskill whenever you want. You will remain flexible and able to not only stay employed or find new employment, but also advance in your career.

Knowing how to learn matches how you learn best with the most effective, time-proven learning strategies to build up your core skills, which you can use in any profession and throughout your life.

This one master skill improves your ability to process, recall, and apply new information faster.

You’ll be able to problem solve more rapidly, work creatively, and excel at mastering new information at any point in your life. Imagine feeling limitless because you know how to learn and remember any new information successfully.

No matter how rapidly and continuously the workforce keeps changing, and what new skills you have to learn, as long as you have the formula for how to learn anything, you can succeed.

2. Knowing How to Learn Boosts Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

The Most Important Work Skill of the 21st CenturyStruggling to find work or worrying whether you can keep your job can be a blow to your morale, confidence and self-esteem.

If you find your job being displaced by technology or think that the field you’ve been working in all this time has evolved beyond you, you might feel disheartened and hopeless.

But when you know how to learn, in any situation and at any stage of your life, you are empowered to remain in control of your life and your career.

My 30 something neighbor was a chef, and lost her job. Her extraordinary cooking talent was simply not relevant when restaurants had to close down during the pandemic.

However, years before, she felt passionate about helping people in the health field and as soon as she lost her job, she applied for an 11 week training program to become a phlebotomist.

She used her ‘how to learn’ toolkit of stratgies, quickly mastered the new field and in under three months had a well-paying job in a field that could not even fill all the open positions.

There is an entire skill set involved in understanding how to learn, and it ultimately means you will be confident in your ability to succeed in any new learning situation.

The security of knowing you can learn anything, is a powerful motivator so it will be a breeze when you need to upskill or reskill, no matter what the circumstances. My neighbor barely missed a beat when making her job change.

By having this positive mindset, thanks to knowing you have a strategy and that you will be successful as long as you follow this how to learn blueprint, you minimize stress and anxiety and improve your quality of life!

And speaking of mindset…

3. Knowing How to Learn Helps You Develop a Growth Mindset

The Most Important Work Skill of the 21st CenturyPeople with a fixed mindset believe that things like personality, talents, skills etc. are a finite resource – they can’t be changed.

Holding on to this type of attitude puts you at a significant disadvantage as you observe the 21st century workplace transform at an even faster pace than previous historic industrial revolutions.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that they can always improve, grow, learn and change.

However, knowing how to learn, remember and apply new information makes you far more flexible and therefore better able to adapt.

As master trainer and motivator Tony Robbins says, “Your past does not equal your future.”

Once you let that sink in, you’ll be able to rebuild yourself and launch a new career if you find that circumstances require you to do that.

The goal is to develop a growth mindset – to become an intentional learner, who uses daily life as a learning opportunity.

You might think that you spent so much time building up your specialization in a specific field, and that relearning skillsets would be difficult if not impossible.

Knowing how to learn can help you break out of that fixed mindset and develop a growth mindset.

This future-proofs you against not just the changes the workforce is undergoing currently, but for all the changes the workplace will undergo at any point in the future.

4. Learning How to Learn Improves Retention

The Most Important Work Skill of the 21st CenturyAs the workplace evolves, new jobs emerge, new competencies are always in higher demand. Employers are going to be on the lookout for employees who exhibit adaptability and versatility.

Companies can’t just hire new people every time job requirements update or change. It would be too costly, time-consuming and inefficient.

However, employers are more than happy to keep employees who show that they’re adept at picking up new skills, diversifying into different job functions, and adapting to workplace changes.

In fact, “adaptability” ranks in LinkedIn’s 2020 round-up of the top 5 soft skills in demand by companies.

Skills in the 21st century workplace are often finite; as technology develops, entire professions may be displaced at a growing rate.

By knowing how to learn, you enhance your value as an employee by highlighting your capability to learn, master and adapt to new skills, and this brings you greater job security within your current field and profession.

This security is invaluable considering how swiftly the market can change.

5. Understanding How to Learn Enables Career Advancement

The Most Important Work Skill of the 21st CenturyNot only does knowing how to learn help you keep up, it also helps you get ahead.

Once you know how to learn anything faster, you can upskill within your profession, improving your expertise and therefore your demand and value as an employee.

An employee who is this flexible, knowledgeable, efficient and fast is an incredible asset in the 21st century workforce, and one that your employers will be keen to keep.

So not only do you keep your job, you increase your opportunities for promotions, bonuses, salary bumps, and many more benefits!

If you feel restricted in your current field, knowing how to learn helps you reskill – you don’t have to confine yourself in the field you originally entered or got a degree for.

With the right strategies, you can be prepared for any learning situation, and this includes advancing your career by pursuing a different job or field.

Learning is the single core skill a successful member of the 21st century workforce must possess, and knowing how to learn is what gives you the knowledge that you will succeed in every learning situation.

So, knowing all about the most important work skill of the 21st century, are you going to be learning how to learn?

pat wymanPat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, such as Total Recall Learning™.

Pat’s superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. She is the best-selling author of more than 15 books, a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!

Related article