Future Skills

Which skills are critical for success in Baden-Württemberg today and in the future?

The way we work is changing immensely. Rapid technological development and societal changes require a closer look at how to shape the future work environment in Baden-Württemberg. Digitisation, automation and artificial intelligence are considered key drivers for future economic growth and significantly influence the work environment. In addition, the transformation of society towards climate neutrality brings with it far-reaching changes, including the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the shift to a resource-efficient circular economy and the implementation of the energy revolution. The most important factor in order to accomplish these changes is: people who shape economic and social progress. Now is the time to develop the skills needed to positively shape the future for everyone, so-called Future Skills.

The "Future Skills" study was initiated to help with this mission. It aims to answer two questions: What skills are going to be needed in Baden-Württemberg in the future? How great is the industry's need for such future skills going to be by the year 2026?

A special feature of this study is the inclusion of data-driven methods to determine future skills. Starting point are more than one million job advertisements from the range of companies in Baden-Württemberg from 2018-2020. The data comprehensively and objectively cover the skills requested by companies in Baden-Württemberg. Using information retrieval methods, over 6,000 skills were identified from this database. These were then grouped into future skills clusters using a modern hierarchical clustering method. The results of the clustering method were independently reviewed by several researchers and additionally validated in focus groups and individual interviews. A core result of this procedure are 33 future skills clusters that were identified for Baden-Württemberg. In addition, our survey among 245 companies shows the quantitative demand for skills from these future skills clusters until 2026.

Cooperation partner: AgenturQ

Funded by: Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg, IG Metall Baden Württemberg, Südwestmetall.

Project period: April 2021 - October 2021



A core result of the study is a taxonomy with a total of 33 future skills clusters and the most important associated future skills. These 33 future skills clusters represent the most important skills that employees of companies in Baden-Württemberg are going to need in the future.

In addition, the demand for and growth of these future skills were analysed in general and with regard to the four focused key industries (automotive industry and its components suppliers, mechanical engineering, metal industry and medical technology). This analysis resulted in 12 future skills clusters with particular relevance for the focused key industries.

Moreover, the additional demand for future skills in the four focused key industries until 2026 was determined via a survey among 245 companies from the areas of automotive industry and its component suppliers, mechanical engineering, metal industry and medical technology. The extrapolation of the information provided by these companies indicates that these four key industries will need over one million more skills from the technological future skills clusters by 2026. According to the companies that were surveyed, there is also a need for central digital key skills by 2026, which affects almost one third of the employees in these four key industries. The high demand for generalist skills is also noteworthy. Even though the estimate of the need for future skills is only an indication from the companies' point of view, one thing is certain: Baden-Württemberg is facing one of the largest upskilling efforts in its history.