As most of us are in lockdown at home, we are left to wonder what a post-coronavirus-world might look like. There’s a lot unknown about how the world will transform after we get the novel coronavirus 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 are 8 job skills that are likely to be in high demand in a post-coronavirus world.
Adaptability and Flexibility
One thing is for certain, the ways companies operate and work are going to change. The world was already changing rapidly, but the pandemic accelerated it. There will be few jobs for life. Someone that is going to succeed in a post-coronavirus-world will need to be able to adapt to ever-evolving workplaces and have the ability to continuously update and refresh their skills.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus-world is to acquire technology skills. The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they are trying to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions. The reality is that technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position. Whether you work in a factory or an accounting office in a post-coronavirus world, you need to be comfortable with these tech tools as well as be able to work with them effectively.
Creativity & Innovation
We have already seen the importance of creativity and innovation during the pandemic. Businesses that have been able to come up with ways to deliver services virtually (like many healthcare providers have done) or quickly shift to new products (like Mercedes F1 that have shifted from making racing cars to innovative breathing aids) have been able to better weather the storm. In a post-coronavirus world, we will need human ingenuity to invent, dream up new products and ways of working. Human creativity is going to be essential.
As the fuel of the 4th Industrial Revolution, data is a critical asset for every company. 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. Companies that understand business trends and shifting customer needs are better able to respond in the right way should a future pandemic come along. However, the data is useless to a company unless there is data literacy—people equipped with skills to understand the data and make better decisions because of it. Professionals with data literacy will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before.
Another skill that will be essential as our global economy rebuilds from the damage done by COVID-19 is critical thinking. During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in fake news and misrepresentations of data and studies, as leaders, businesses, and governments are trying to shift blame and divert attention and proper scrutiny. People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible will be valued. Not all information should be trusted, but organisations will need to rely on critical thinking to understand what information should inform decision-making.
Digital And Coding Skills
The digital transformation of organisations got a boost because of coronavirus; therefore, professionals with digital skills, including coding, web development, and digital marketing, will become even more important than they are now. People who can keep the digital business running—and thriving—during economic downturns or pandemics that make in-person business impossible or less efficient are going to be on the must-hire list. And, basically, ALL companies are now digitally based in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless.
One of the changes in a world that is heavily augmented by the support of machines and where social distancing and home working might continue for the foreseeable future, is that more people at all levels of an organisation will be in a position where they lead others. The gig economy is only going to grow post coronavirus, and people will be working in more fluent teams where 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 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 EQ will be coveted by organisations of all sizes and in all industries.
Commit to a Lifetime of Learning
According to the World Economic Forum, in just five years, 35 percent of the skills deemed essential today will change. There’s only one way to remain relevant in a post-coronavirus reality: commit to a lifetime of learning.
When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced and expert job skills will still be in demand and will likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier. Today, it doesn’t require years of study or hefty loans to build up your skillset to be prepared for a post-coronavirus world. There are endless free and open online courses (MOOCs) available that will help you improve your skills.
Here are just a few examples:
See lockdown as an opportunity to improve your skills so that you are ready for the post-coronavirus job market.
Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.