The skills needed to future proof your career in sport

We often hear that the jobs of the future do not even exist yet as the likes of artificial intelligence and technology fuelled innovation transform the future world of work and job opportunities within the sports industry and beyond. This may not be entirely true, but it is true that the jobs marketplace is evolving so fast that predicting the future is harder than ever before. It was predicted in 2015 that 45% of positions will no longer exist in 2025, and with this in mind, what are the skills that are needed to succeed in a world of such rapid change? We consider the 10 key skills that will strengthen your sports industry career whatever the future brings.


Some say that it can be learned, others that it is innate. The ability of bringing a team together and performing to their best while providing inspiration and motivation are skills in high demand within any organisation. Future technology and methods will help leaders better achieve their objectives, but the fundamental skills will never be replaced by anything but quality leadership.

Complex problem-solving

We live in a complex world, that only continues to develop as we accelerate into the future at unprecedented pace. As humans we try and simplify reality in order to make it more understandable. As we appreciate, this becomes more difficult as complexity increases. The ability to solve complex problems by stepping back, visualising and planning the necessary steps, by distilling the complexity, will be highly desirable skills in business of tomorrow. Additionally effectively be able to communicate this complexity in a simplified manner that us humans prefer, will propel you to boardroom status.


Collaboration empowers people in or outside an organisation to engage with each other productively and efficiently. Strong workforce collaboration skills are inherently human, and as organisations place increasing importance on creativity, effective collaboration enhances a team’s ability to achieve unified goals and solutions. Attributes of collaboration include a willingness to find solutions to problems, understanding team strengths and weaknesses, taking responsibility and active listening.


In a world of constant change adaptability and flexibility are critical for success. Being able to adapt to technological, economic and social change enable us to grow with change and provides us with opportunities rather than challenges.

A fixed mindset, which assumes our abilities, beliefs and character are static will hinder an individual’s ability to manage the constant change within workplaces of tomorrow. Conversely, individuals with a growth mindset thrive on challenges, learning and development while relishing the opportunity to overcome the inherent obstacles along the journey. As you can conclude, adopting a growth mindset will enable you to flourish in the future workplace fuelled by change and uncertainty.

Modern organisational structures are evolving as are the skills required for their success. Individuals must build the skills and mindset to be confident and comfortable with constant evolution and be adaptable across all aspects of work and business.

Risk taking

Where businesses are competing for attention and market share, and start-ups are shaking up the status quo, risk taking is an organisational wide skill.

This skill is intrinsic to the development and growth of a business. It is important to note that without taking risks, there would have likely never have been a business in the first place. Having the ability to take measured risks, question decision making and manage the process of risk are essential skills which are becoming more vital in competitive marketplaces like sport. Where businesses are competing for attention and market share, and start-ups are shaking up the status quo, risk taking is an organisational wide skill. No longer the preserve of leadership, but a skill for all team members to display in order to support the future success of the organisation.


Creativity has often been considered the reserved of people in the design and marketing departments. However, creativity is today (and indeed tomorrow) a skill-set in high demand across all business disciplines helping drive them forward. The World Economic Forum considers it the third most important skill in 2020 behind problem-solving and critical thinking. As automation takes a stronger grip on future business processes, creative thinking will enable teams to move up the value chain, carrying out more thoughtful work that requires reflection, observation and idea generation to deliver innovation and the that all important competitive edge.

“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”
Edward de Bono The de Bono Online Course


Curiosity allows us to learn, to question and to evolve. It is a fundamental human trait and one that is increasingly important in our modern world surrounded by unknowns. Encouraging questioning, being aware of change and even challenging the status quo are engines of positive change, innovation and growth. Be curious.


Communications skills have always been at the top of the ‘required’ skills list, and the future will be no different. As you will notice from this list, most skills are based on a framework of effective communications.

As organisations become flatter, teams more multi-disciplinary, and in many cases remote, as well as new generations enter the workplace the way we communicate is changing.

Develop a style and an approach that connects with the teams and audiences you work with and develop your approach overtime. Effective communications is a journey that you should continually aim to improve in order to achieve your desired outcomes.

Critical thinking

The ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It enables you to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connections between ideas. Effective critical thinking requires ‘active learning’ rather than being a passive recipient of information. Question ideas and assumptions and build the entire picture rather than accepting on face value. Developing critical thinking techniques will enable you to have a holistic and meaningful view of multifaceted and complex topics that are increasingly common in business, providing clarity and value in delivering opportunities and solutions.

Emotional Intelligence

"High performance is about managing emotions so that people can perform at their best under pressure."
Sir Dave Brailsford

Emotional intelligence essentially involves two parts: first, becoming aware of how emotions in ourselves and others drive behaviours and second, developing the skills to manage these emotions intelligently, to leverage our personal strengths. It is becoming a highly desirable skillset in sports business as the power of EI to help achieve success is understood though extensive research.

More and more, organisations looking to recruit top talent are actively seeking evidence of the emotional intelligence characteristics that are linked to high performers: empathy, emotional self-awareness, adaptability, and the capacity to build collaborative relationships, to name but a few.

For more steps on developing your emotional intelligence click here.

In a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action.
Brian Tracy

The future is largely uncertain, but every day we see new glimpses of what it may hold. For success we must be energised to learn new skills, be ready for challenges and accept setbacks. To meet the needs of a changing world underpinned by rapid technological advances, we must be prepared to continually adapt and evolve our profiles to ensure we stand out in a competitive people market. From entry level to board level, the opportunity to empower your future career is completely in your hands.

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