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Personality wins in a new survey by Hyper Island, but, says chief executive Johanna Frelin, the ability to learn and relearn is critical for both individuals and organisations

5 min read

The transformative times we live in is largely down to technology, which continues to change the way we live and work. While our private life is something we master individually, work life is more complex. The transformations occurring create challenges for companies and co-workers in equal measure.

Hyper Island recently carried out a global survey looking to map the most important needs from organisations over the next three years. These needs range from a mixture of skills and personal qualities. The survey reflects two perspectives – the people and the recruiters.

Tomorrow’s young adults need to know what competence is needed in the business world in order to choose the right education, something companies find difficult to answer in this ever-changing world. The biggest challenge companies say they’re facing in the near future is how to create an environment and work-place that will attract the talent they need and make them stay, 20 percent of all respondents agree with this. When looking at the people needed tomorrow, 78 percent say personal qualities are very important, which is significantly more than the second most important factor, (39 percent) competence.

Importance of personal qualities

Most valued skills and qualities

A personality that is adaptable to change, eager to learn and re-learn is key for future business. To succeed in this rapidly changing business environment it is more important to have co-workers developing in the same pace, with the right attitude and values. Competence is perishable

The top personality traits that the global respondents of the survey are looking for are: driven, creative, imaginative and having an open mind. One can summarize and say that the near future needs dreaming doers, the perfect combination of being creative and driven, able to come up with cutting-edge ideas as well as the courage and skill to realise them.

The business world has high expectations of tomorrow’s talents but, just as importantly, these talents have clear demands of their future employers.

Importance of personal qualities

Importance of personal qualities


504 thought leaders, executives, employees and industry experts worldwide have shared their views on business challenges, trends and competence needs of tomorrow. The survey was carried out June-September 2013.

Key findings in short (you’ll find a more detailed definition of each point further down):

The rise of personality

Skill is the least important factor when hiring tomorrow’s most wanted. Instead the employers hold a holistic perspective where important factors include the right cultural values but most importantly the right characteristics. Skills and education are still important, no doubt, but it’s a hygiene factor. Tomorrow’s most wanted differentiate themselves by their personality.
(When judging the importance of different factors for hiring tomorrow’s most wanted, 39 % state skills as very important, 53 % state cultural alignment as very important and 78 % state personal qualities as very important.)

Borderless generation

People around the world may be different, with varying ideas, values and motivations. When it comes to the digital media business it’s not what country or continent you’re from, but that you’re open-minded. In this respect it’s truly borderless.

It’s not about digital, it’s about humans

A large amount of the most sought after skills are to help overcome the current lack of knowledge and understanding of the digital world. While employers are looking for digital savvy people, they have shifted from seeking technology skills first to human oriented skills first, so people with user experience and creative technology skills find the most wanted list, over traditional, logical engineers.

Talent is tomorrow

No matter how big the outside threats are to companies, their true challenge is internal. Tomorrow’s biggest challenge is finding the talent, keeping it and developing it. This sets the scene where employers are demanded to be in the front line to attract the biggest talent.
The most common challenge of the employers in the survey is to recruit, train and retrain their talent.

Dreaming doers needed

Employers are really looking for people who have the combination of being highly imaginative and creative, as well as very driven. Having the cognitive ability to both come up with ground-breaking ideas and concepts as well as the stamina to execute. Every key market and industry chose at least two of the following personal qualities in their top three list that tomorrow’s most wanted should have: drive, imagination and entrepreneurial instincts.


Tomorrow: The forthcoming 3-5 years
Skill: A hard value that defines the personal characteristics of a certain person
Personal quality: A soft value that defines the personal characteristics of a certain person
Cultural alignment: How well the values between the employee and employer correlate