2020 was quite the year, wasn’t it? Who would have thought a pandemic would sweep the nation, changing what seems like every aspect of daily life. Over 35M Americans filed for unemployment benefits when COVID-19 hit its peak per the NY Times, causing great economic uncertainty, and over an 8.4M jobs loss. Thankfully, now that businesses are in the process of safely reopening, more and more people are heading back to work — a relief for everyone! And unemployment numbers have edged down to 6%!
The economy is picking back up and companies are hiring, and I have had countless clients ask me what is changed… Heck, it seems as if there is a new normal to everything now, so I understand their concern. While the job market in and of itself was only put on hiatus and is expected to come back strong, the coronavirus has in fact shed some light on various skills employers deem essential as they move forward. Here are the top 5:
1.) Change Management
Adaptability is the willingness to confront and change your own ideas and preconceptions, while flexibility is the willingness to act based on those changes. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is that both are necessary for businesses and organizations to navigate highly competitive marketplaces, so the ability to handle and manage change key.
2.) Technical Aptitude
Being able to hop online to conduct meetings and submit forms is vital to ensure operations run seamlessly (especially if a second wave takes place in the fall). I fully expect employers to continue to have their staff work from home on a full-time, part-time, or hybrid basis. As such, the need for a working knowledge of digital platforms is a must.
3.) Creative Ideas
It is only through unique concepts, compelling designs, and the ability to view standard, “comfortable” processes in ways that make them even better, that we can change and shape what life will be for each one of us. Expect companies, our country, and the world at large to seek those with innovative, creative ideas that will change the “status quo”.
4.) Data Literacy
This is not only due to current events. The importance of data analysis within finance, consumer trends, risk, etc… were all growing fields. Now, after the coronavirus, I am certain that the need to analyze data to make informed business decisions will be in demand. If data is not your strong suit, I encourage you to take some basic courses that are readily available online.
5.) Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity, equity, and inclusion will continue to be important in 2021 and this sort of training should be a priority for any organization with productivity, profits, and success in mind. This is no longer just a compliance matter as emotionally intelligent and fair organizations dominate their business competitors. By respecting a diverse workforce and promoting this type of culture, companies find that they have more engaged and loyal employees. This will be the next normal for business models.
These skills have always been important, but now, as the world begins to open the doors, they are what I believe employers will be looking for. By remaining open to change, up to date with technology, innovative, data literate, and equitable, you can approach your job search post-COVID with confidence.
Go get ‘em!