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5 Future-Proof Traits and Values Desired by Tech Companies

#futureofwork https://learninghub.openlearning.com/2018/08/21/5-future-proof-traits-and-values-desired-by-tech-companies/

Group of multi-ethnic business partners discussing ideas

The future of work is changing worldwide. The rise of the 4th Industrial Revolution, advancements in technology and increased automation have led many to doubt whether their current jobs will continue to exist in the years to come. 

Intriguingly, jobs in the technology sector are also not spared. 

This beckons a number of questions: What will the tech landscape look like for job candidates? More specifically, what skills do tech companies look for when hiring? And how will careers in tech develop over time? 

Answering these questions is neither about adding to speculations nor chasing specific trends. Rather, one thing that holds true is that people will need to adapt and embrace change —  and for a tech company like OpenLearning, this means hiring candidates who possess certain future-proof traits and values.

1. We believe ‘culture-add’ is greater than ‘culture-fit’ 

One question we encourage our interviewers and hiring managers to ask is: what diversity of skills, experiences, and thought will this person bring to our team that we don’t already have? In other words, what is their culture-add?

When looking for a new person to join the organisation, we don’t seek people who can merely ‘fit in’ — instead, we want people who can add on to our systems, processes, and behaviours. 


Striving to increase workplace diversity is not an empty slogan — it’s a good business decision

Diversity in all its elements is crucial for us as an organisation. We know businesses with greater diversity lead to greater profits.

More importantly, it enables us to see multiple perspectives, approaches and broaden our knowledge base as an organisation. By considering each candidate’s value in contributing to the team as a whole, we are more likely to build the best team possible.

It also ensures we’re constantly thinking about what new dynamics, values, behaviours and attitudes we’re introducing into our team which will ultimately form the core of our company culture. 

2. We seek problem solvers and creative thinkers

With AI predicted to replace between 75 million to 375 million jobs by 2030, problem solving and creative thinking is what will continue to differentiate machines from people. 

While we need to ensure people have the technical ability to perform within their roles, it weighs relatively low in comparison to how they approach, shape, and contribute to the broader team and organisation. 


Technical skills are important for workplace success, but higher-order thinking skills and interpersonal skills are also key.

For example, it’s one thing to be able to write a piece of code as a Software Engineer, however, it’s quite another to suggest changes to existing architecture, see opportunities for improvement, understand the ecosystem, and propose alternate ways to approach a problem which could minimise user friction or strengthen other parts of our platform.

3. We want people with a growth mindset

A growth mindset is seeing failure as an opportunity to learn, embrace challenges and believe your abilities are malleable. It is one fixed on continuous learning, growth, and having the openness to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

“Fail fast, and fail often” is an oft-quoted piece of advice in tech — at OpenLearning, we have our own way of saying this through one of our core values: “realising possibilities in a chaotic world”. 

Tech is a notoriously fast paced environment which means we can’t afford to wait for solutions. Hence, we need people who view emerging disruptions as opportunities to be harnessed, rather than challenges to be feared.

Beyond creating solutions, we need teams of people with an openness to share their ideas, knowledge and learning. This is crucial particularly for a global company such as OpenLearning, which collaborates across borders. It helps us to ensure that we are aligned, constantly adapting to changes, and staying on track to achieve our company objectives.

4. We look for lifelong learners who aren’t afraid to fail.

As an education tech company, OpenLearning believes in lifelong learning. We want to inspire our people to try new things, voice ideas, share and receive feedback, and let their hunger as well as curiosity for knowledge outweigh any fear of failure.  

Why? Because in today’s knowledge economy, learning is more important than ever. Fear holds us back and slows us down, so, if we value seeing the best in each other, we should encourage lifelong learning by creating supportive environments that foster mutual respect and promote self-development. Even in failure, there is an opportunity to learn and gain wisdom. 

As writer-philosopher Suzy Kassem puts it, “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

5. Above all else, are you purpose driven?

Ultimately, when hiring, we look for candidates who are driven by a sense of purpose.

We are an education company driven by a vision to transform the world through social learning. We want to enable access to quality education for everyone. This vision goes beyond profits and revolves around making a positive difference to our world. 

Events room 1

Our OpenLearning team during a meeting in Sydney.

In that respect, we want people who are equally driven by a deep desire to contribute to our vision; who choose to use their skills and potential to challenge the status quo; who aren’t afraid to speak up; and subsequently innovate for the betterment of society. 

With many questions left unanswered about the future of work and an ever-changing tech landscape, what we can guarantee is our desire to always want purpose-driven people to help  change the world. 

Are you interested in a career in tech? Let us know in the comments section whether this article has helped you make your application—or even make your decision.

Posted on August 23, 2018

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