As many of us observe safer at home suggestions, work from home, or look for work, we are left to wonder what the world and job market will look like in the coming months and years.
We don’t know how the world will be transformed after we get COVID-19 under control, but it’s extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were. Our workplaces will change as well as the skills that organizations require. Here are nine job skills that are likely to be in high demand both now, and in a post-pandemic world:
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking
- Tech savviness
- Data literacy
- Digital and coding skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Commitment to a lifetime of learning
The world was already changing rapidly, but the pandemic accelerated it. This immense challenge has fast-tracked digital transformations in companies as they try to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions. The reality is that technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and professionals who can help companies effectively use these technologies will be in a great position.
No matter where you work, you’ll need to be comfortable working with tech at some level. We have already seen the importance of creativity and innovation during the pandemic. Businesses that have created new ways to deliver virtual services or quickly shift into new products have weathered the storm better. We’ll continue to need ingenuity to invent new products and ways of working. Creativity and adaptability are essential.
Data is a critical asset for every modern organization. With the right data, companies are able to better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better able to serve customers with the right products and services during or after any pandemic. However, data is useless to a company if there is no one equipped with the skills to understand it and use it to make informed decisions. So people with advanced data literacy skills will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before.
Critical thinking is another skill that will become even more essential. During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in misrepresentations of data and studies. People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible and help make decisions based on reliable information will be highly valued.
People who can keep the digital business running—and thriving—during economic downturns or pandemics that make in-person business difficult will be on the must-hire list. In a world where working from home is the norm, people at all levels of organizations will need to help lead others. The gig economy is only going to grow, and people will be working in more fluid teams where different people are taking the lead at different times. Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage collaboration, will be in high demand.
Closely linked to leadership is another skill that is even more important in uncertain and challenging times: Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be aware of others’ emotions is what emotional intelligence is all about. At times when people might feel uncertain about their job and the future of their business, it is key to connect with people on an emotional level. Individuals with strong emotional intelligence will be needed by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced technical knowledge and well-developed “soft skills” will be in high demand and will likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier. There are endless affordable and even free options to take courses and gain certifications that will help you improve your skills and make you more attractive to organizations.