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The in-demand skills for a new era of work

Gaelle Blake, director, Hays Permanent Appointments, UK & Ireland

It’s virtually impossible to predict what our world of work will look like once we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, as what we considered ‘normal’ was turned on its head a mere number of weeks ago. 

What we do know is that as social distancing is gradually relaxed, we will enter a new era of work which will most likely involve hybrid ways of working and managing. With this will come a renewed focus on certain skills which will help businesses get their workplaces geared up again.

Here are four technical and soft skills which employers are likely to be on the look out for as we make this shift.

  1. Data literacy

The value of accurate, insightful data is critical to organisations today and is only going to grow in importance. This data, coupled with strong analysis, enables companies to predict areas of fluctuating demand – thereby ensuring they can adapt their product and service offerings to meet evolving customer needs.

In light of this, data-literate professionals will be in demand as our world of work continues to change. If you are looking to build on these skills, I’d recommend the following areas as a start:    

  • Google Analytics - Google’s Analytics Academy offers free classes to help you understand how the world’s biggest search engine tracks and analyses website traffic
  • Microsoft Excel – it may sound like an obvious one, but Excel is one of the most widespread office programs and is a crucial tool for recording and analysing data. Find a variety of courses on LinkedIn.
  • Data visualisation – being able to turn data into visual stories is the key to making information both understandable and digestible. Udemy offers an introduction to data visualization.

  1. Adaptability

Obvious as it may sound, the ability to adapt quickly into this new era of work will be fundamental no matter what industry you work in. This encompasses integrating quickly into a role, new team, or organisation and being willing to improve your existing skills or acquire new ones where needed.

It’ll certainly help if you have experience of working in different environments, but there are some things you can proactively do to be more adaptable. Take the time to observe before launching into making decisions; embrace mistakes and move on quickly; and ask questions and learn from others.

  1. Web development

Digital transformation may have been sweeping across the world at top speed before, but the coronavirus crisis has only accelerated the pace at which this is happening. We’ve seen entire organisations switch to operating entirely online practically overnight, embracing new technology and systems.

Such a reaction has put the spotlight on web development and coding skills which are set to be even more in-demand than they were before. If you’re new to coding, there are a huge number of languages to learn including:

  • HTML – a crucial foundational web skill used for front end web development
  • CSS – HTML’s sister coding language which determines the style of a webpage, for example fonts, colours and layouts
  • Javascript – also used for front end web development, this coding language helps bring static web pages to life with dynamic content
  • Python – a back end web development language, this is used for varying types of programming besides web development, and can be used to develop mobile apps and desktop apps as well as process big data

Whether you’re after a brief introduction or looking to expand your skills, Codecademy is an excellent place to start and provides lots of free courses.

  1. Emotional intelligence

Having undergone so much change up to now and with another shift on the horizon, it’s important that we consider the impact this has had on how we interact with our colleagues and behave in the workplace. A silver lining to come of this is a renewed sense of compassion and empathy as working traits and a sharper emotional intelligence in the workplace.

I think we’ve all had to exercise these traits when working with our colleagues during this unsettling situation, which has opened our eyes to the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace – now and for the future.

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