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Identify Skills of the Future

Don't rely on a crystal ball; instead, use an iterative process to proactively identify future skills.

  • HR is not equipped with the data needed to properly address the skills gap. There is a lack of successful processes for forecasting future skills (United Nations, 2020).
  • Reacting to changes rather than following a process to identify future skills puts organizations at risk of falling behind. Not having the right future skills in place can negatively affect a company’s performance. It can reduce innovation, increase talent costs, lower quality and customer service standards, and make it much more difficult to pursue market opportunities (PwC, 2019).

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  • Get on-demand project support
  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
  • Go through a Guided Implementation to help you get through your project

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • There is no cure-all for understanding what skills your organization will need in the future. HR must embed an iterative process to identify the future skills needed and the gap with current skills in the workforce to execute organizational and people strategies.

Impact and Result

  • Scope the future skills identification process and design a pilot to uncover future skills and the skills gap. Iterate and apply this process throughout the organization to identify future skills.
  • Modify and/or create new roles to incorporate future skills into your organization.

Identify Skills of the Future Research & Tools

1. Determine process scope and design a pilot

Determine scope, analyze data, set goals, and identify stakeholders and pilot participants.

2. Uncover the skills gap

Gather insights about the pilot group, uncover current and future skills that are aligned with tasks to identify gaps, and prioritize.

3. Modify roles or create new ones

Identify pilot group roles requiring future skills, then modify or create new roles and communicate role changes to pilot segment.

4. Integrate and plan to operationalize the process

Gather feedback on the pilot, reclassify future skills, and support them through aligned HR programs. Determine modifications to process and build a communication plan for the organization.

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About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 10 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Determine process scope and design a pilot
  • Call 1: Determine the scope of the process and identify relevant data.
  • Call 2: Review data and select pilot segment and stakeholders.

Guided Implementation 2: Uncover the skills gap
  • Call 1: Plan to uncover and define current skills.
  • Call 2: Review current skills and plan to define future skills.
  • Call 3: Review future skills and identify gaps.

Guided Implementation 3: Modify roles or create new ones
  • Call 1: Uncover roles requiring future skills.
  • Call 2: Review whether to modify current roles or create new ones.

Guided Implementation 4: Integrate and plan to operationalize the process
  • Call 1: Review feedback from the pilot.
  • Call 2: Plan for HR program alignment to support future skills.
  • Call 3: Review future skills identification process.


  • Cara Bannon, Director, Human Resources, IMRF
  • Denise Brass, Workforce Manager, Shopify
  • Robert Collins, Director, Workforce Development, London Economic Development Corporation
  • Michael Fairless, Associate Director, Learning & Leadership Development, WE
  • Dan George, Founder and CEO, Piper Key
  • Keisha Osbourne Grant, Senior Manager, Transformation & Change, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago Limited
  • Doug Hamor, Workforce Planning & Strategies Leader, Suncor Energy
  • Giselle Mota, Principal, Future of Work, ADP
  • Ugo Orsi, IT VP Technology Operations, Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Sarah Sheffer, Director of Strategic Workforce Planning, Henry Ford Health System
  • Emilian Siman, Senior Data Analyst, EMO Workforce Planning and Development Board
  • Ross Sparkman, Head of Workforce Planning, LinkedIn
  • Qamar Zaman, Senior Business Analyst, Greater Toronto Airports Authority