As most of us were in lockdown at home, we were left to wonder what a post-pandemic-world might look like. There’s a lot unknown about how the world will transform after we get the pandemic fully under control, but it is extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before. Our workplaces are likely to change, and with it, the skills companies will require. Here we outline 5 job skills that are likely to be in high demand in a post-coronavirus world.
As we were beginning to think we had defeated Covid, we watch in horror at the senseless brutality of the war in Ukraine. The war adds to the series of supply shocks that have struck the global economy in recent years. We are living in an era of fundamental transformation.
Moreover, it is clearly an evolving situation – Covid, the potency of its variants, and the outbreak of war in Ukraine have taught us one thing for sure – adaptability is critical.
The world has changed, and the workplace has fundamentally changed along with it. What you do now will help you adapt to an enhanced, technologically-enabled workplace of the future. Standing out among all the uncertainty, one clear lesson arises: adaptability—in organisations, individuals, and society—is essential for navigating the changes ahead.
Employers must remain adaptable, and most are engaged in detailed discussions about how they return to work and how they address issues such as hybrid working, employee wellbeing, and the role of technology.
Employers will want to know that you have what it takes to adapt to these changes. After all, this will determine how the business can take advantage of market shifts and protect itself from getting left behind. So work on maintaining a flexible mindset that is always looking to improve.
2020 saw digital proficiency becoming a core skill for employees at all levels and in all sizes of firms. Information and management researchers led by Ikpe Justice Akpan of Kent State University have pointed out that, even among small firms, ‘some technologies that were being tested or perceived to be “too cutting edge” before the lockdown suddenly have a new potential market due to the pandemic.’
Covid-19 precipitated the largest experiment in remote working in history. For example, many employees at the start of the pandemic may have had little or no experience of using virtual video platforms. But today, it is not uncommon for employees to be using multiple video platforms (for example, Skype, Teams, Zoom, LogMeIn, WebEx, etc) for dealing with stakeholders across different organisations. Luckily, working remotely has several benefits. You often get to set your own hours, save time on transportation, and enjoy your home office’s view.
When Covid hit, businesses quickly complied with state emergency regulations to move all work into people’s homes that did not involve the provision of critical services. Eurofound estimated that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the proportion of people working exclusively at home in Ireland was over 40 per cent, second only to Belgium in the EU.
Historically, employees have often been reluctant to adopt new technologies – arguing perhaps that the ways they were used to doing things was good enough. The pandemic has demonstrated that most employees are actually capable of adapting to a great deal of change.
As a result, employers in the future may have even less tolerance for employees that they regard as technological laggards. To remain employable, be sure to demonstrate your willingness to try new digital technologies such as collaboration software and analytical tools. Volunteer and get involved in identifying and fixing problems relating to such technologies. Think of learning about and becoming proficient at new technologies as a crucial part of your job – potentially more important than simply updating your technical skills and knowledge.
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Advancements in technology have changed the way businesses and industries now work. More and more companies and organisations in every industry are investing in smart technology such as automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to take over repetitive tasks and high-level calculations.
As automation becomes the norm, the need for human employees in these roles decreases, leaving more and more people at risk of becoming unemployed. However, there is a way to respond to the digitalisation and automation of labour – level up your technical skills.
While it is not necessary to become a tech nerd, having some technical knowledge has become essential to survive in the quickly advancing technological world. Working in the digital world means having adequate technical skills. The need for technical skills was in demand before Covid-19 now technical skills are an absolute must.
The fourth industrial revolution is just around the corner and businesses are not just focusing on technological investments, but employees who understand these technologies are becoming indispensable. Technical skills enable you to step into the future working with, rather than against, the technology that is becoming pervasive in our society.
Critical and Emotional Intelligence
Pandemic or no pandemic, every business seeks an emotionally intelligent employee who has the ability to establish and maintain good relations. This has become more important in the post pandemic period because people have become emotionally vulnerable. If you develop the ability to think critically and take decisions and show empathy for others emotions, you have a high chance of surviving and retain high productivity levels.
Learning, Unlearning And Relearning
Be it to succeed in the post covid world or anytime, you need to understand that learning is a never-ending process. With the changing times and evolution of industry and its demands, it is necessary to keep yourself updated with emerging trends in the industry you work in. This may also include unlearning certain skills or traits that hold no good for the changing times.
People who get their degree and then never add any new skills are far less valuable to most companies than people who are always willing and eager to learn.
This is particularly true when you are learning new skills that might not have been part of your degree program when you completed it. So, make sure people know you love to learn! Add the phrase “lifelong learner” to your CV and your LinkedIn profile. If you’re willing to learn through study, you’re probably willing to learn in any professional role, and that’s very attractive to most hiring managers.
Preparing for the skills of the future
The future of work is here today. It is going to be built upon collaboration between man and machine, one will not supplant or replace the other. Jobs in their current state will be replaced and new roles created, skills will need to be enhanced, people will need to be adaptable and ready to add to their skills.
It’s impossible to predict exactly the skills that will be needed even five years from now, so organisations and workers need to be ready to adapt.
Inevitably, much of the responsibility will be on you the individual. You will need not only to adapt to organisational change but be willing to acquire new skills and even rethink your direction and retrain mid-career.
Employees with critical skills that organisations need will become highly sought because of the value they will bring in the workplace of the future. They will be hard to find and difficult to keep.
No matter what the future holds, upskilling to make yourself indispensable by gaining tomorrow’s in-demand skills today is a ‘no regrets’ move. Ensure it’s in your plan as you prepare for tomorrow’s workplace.
While before the pandemic, being adaptable was underlined as geographical mobility, a post pandemic definition has changed to having an open mindset, ability to handle work from home pressure and adjusting to the “new normal” business environment.
Eagerness to learn is an essential skill set you need to develop and an essential skill required to succeed in a post-covid world. If you want to put yourself in a position to acquire and keep the best job possible in your dream organisation, follow the guide above. Learn one of the five skills that will make you stand out from the rest and give you a leg up.