9 job skills to develop for a post COVID working world

By Hannah Kingston

Tuesday September 22, 2020

work-place-setting

No one truly knows what a “post COVID” working world will look like but we can make some decent guesses on the job skills, both hard and soft that will be necessary to continue working successfully along your career path, or indeed to forge a new one.

Here are 9 essential job skills for a post COVID working world:

  1. Digital & technology
  2. Data literacy
  3. IT and security
  4. Adaptability & resiliance
  5. Creativity
  6. Innovation
  7. Critical thinking
  8. Leadership
  9. Communication

Digital & technology

People with skills in digital marketing, web development and coding will continue to be in demand in the post COVID world. If you have the bandwidth to upgrade your technical skills, you should invest your time and energy here. Of course, there is no sure-fire way to “recession-proof” your skill set but the digital sectors are one of the few industries who are still actively recruiting and haven’t been hit as hard during this period.

Even before the pandemic began, there was a need to develop digital skills. KPMG summarise well here:

“Even before COVID-19, revolutions in technologies, consumer preferences, and business models were affecting the global workforce. The virus has accelerated and intensified this, and is forcing leaders to shift their organization’s crisis operations while fundamentally reimagining strategies and business models.”

Data literacy

At all times, but especially when a crisis hits, the ability of a workforce to interpret data and come up with actionable solutions is paramount to success.

A deeper understanding of data with the ability to produce predictive modelling to assist in making critical decisions is a very attractive job skill to have now and especially in the post COVID world, which has had to scramble to understand consumers in the digital side of their organisation, possibly for the first time.

IT and security

IT and security which was inhibited during the beginnings of the pandemic will continue to flourish in a post COVID world according to an aspirational recovery scenario outlined by Frost & O’ Sullivan. The global security industry is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3 per cent, garnering revenue of $140.6 billion by 2025 from $109.3 billion in 2019. The conservative forecast scenario predicts that the industry will generate $131.01 billion between 2019 and 2025.

Developing or pivoting your skills for IT and security will work as a benefit in the future as more and more industries have moved and will remain online in a post COVID world.

Adaptability & resilience

If there was ever more of a widespread and unifying learning exercise for adaptability and resilience, 2020 has been the year for it.

One of the job skills you can take from the global 2020 experience is learning to adapt quickly in new situations and grafting for better resilience to change. Gig culture isn’t a new concept for Australia. In 2019, 7% of the Australian workforce was enrolled in the “gig economy” working from one or multiple short term contract(s) to the next.

It is forcasted that the gig economy will live on in a post COVID world and the ability to adapt skill sets will be seen as an attractive trait in the workforce.

Creativity

Creativity and the ability to think outside the box will be regarded highly in a post COVID world, as the pandemic presented a similar challenge to brands across the world. How do we ensure that our audience continues to engage with us during such tumultuous times.

The priorities of the consumers, and organizations themselves have changed. Social responsibility and taking an ethical approach are now more important to the consumer than ever, and for that reason brands now need to invest in creativity.

Innovation

The ability to quickly innovate whether or not there is a global crisis afoot will be essential in the future. The pandemic has seen both small businesses and big businesses pivot and make the pandemic work for them as opposed to against them.

While advanced machine learning, AI and automation may come to dominant the working world in the years to come, it will take human ingenuity to make those tools work for an organisation on the whole. Non-sentitent programs cannot innovate, whereas the workforce can. The ability to innovate will be one of the leading job skills in the coming years.

Critical thinking

Organisations will rely on critical thinkers in a post COVID world, as around the world we have seen the dangers that can come from misrepresentations of data and fake news.

More than ever, critical thinkers are essential within any team to help interpret information and pull out actionable insights.

Leadership

In a world where teams will move and shift more often than they have before, employers will be looking at candidates who can lead a team, work as part of a team and work independently.

Without a clear vision of what the future will look like, industry leaders will highly regard those who can act as leaders when they need to. Read: What is leadership and the traits necessary to be a leader?

Communication

Communication has and will continue to be one of the most coveted job skills in a post COVID market. Working from home has highlighted the extent to which below-par communication skills can push tasks behind, and at the end of the day, make a workplace less efficient.

Whether or not you are continuing to work from home, improving your communication skills will only serve you in the future.

Now read: Wondering what kind of leader you are? Here are the 7 most common leadership styles 

Now read: Do recessions increase productivity and how can you maintain it?

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