Skills in Demand: For 2021 and Ahead

The marketplace is constantly evolving with the times. The skills required in the workforce today differ from what was needed in the past. According to the World Economic Forum, it was predicted that there might be a need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030 and that 42% of the core skills required to perform existing jobs will change in the next couple of years.

The most significant change in the workforce can be attributed to the rapid advancements in technology. The introduction of disruptive technology has led to upheaval in the job market, with the automation of certain jobs. Nevertheless, new roles are also created to manage these automated systems. While automation can significantly improve our lives, it also means that workers who do not possess the right skills can get left in the dust. This makes it pivotal for employees now to identify and acquire future-ready skills to improve their employability.

Before you start worrying about your lack of these future-ready skills, there are platforms such as MySkillsFuture where you can gain a couple of new skills to aid you in this! With that, read on to find out what skills in demand – both hard and soft, you would like to consider learning:

Data Skills

With technology dominating the workforce, people are required to become more analytical. Data analysis is used for a myriad of purposes – from improving industrial processes to keeping shelves stacked and even to accurately selecting digital advertisements. Data skills are in-demand as it improves the efficiency for businesses. It benefits not only professions like business analytics, but also farmers and doctors who leverage data to make better decisions.

A research done by Accenture and Qlik reported that 74% of workers were not comfortable working with data. This has caused companies to lose an average of 43 hours of productivity per employee each year, with the lack of data literacy. Another research has shown that 69% of employers will be more inclined to hire employees who have data skills by 2021.

The demand for employees who are able to organise data collection, interpret the results and make decisions based on the findings is increasing. Hence, having the skill to analyse data is now a skill well sought after in the evolving job environment.

Artificial Intelligence

It was predicted that artificial intelligence will be one of the key drivers of the future. With the rapid developments of AI, there will be significant changes in the way we work and live. With AI, we can perform tasks faster with greater precision, map out trends for predicting demand and create a more personalized user experience. The use of AI is increasing in popularity throughout the world, creating a high demand for individuals who possess the relevant skills to manage and develop AI systems.

Despite how there was talk about how the introduction of AI will displace many workers, it was predicted that it would ultimately create more jobs than the ones displaced. This is due to the fact that AI will boost economic growth which will create more job opportunities for everyone. Grasping the skill of AI and machine learning will be highly advantageous to those who require AI in their industry.

Sales and Marketing

Unlike the two skills above, these skills cannot be automated and require a human touch to it. The role of sales and marketing will remain pertinent even in the future. Marketing has been transformed by technology with the increase of marketing channels like social media platforms and digital content. These channels have greatly benefited companies as they offer ways to collect data and performance measurement. Marketers will need to raise their game to succeed in this competitive landscape.

No matter how advanced technology gets, the marketing department will always require humans to make marketing decisions and come up with campaign ideas. The same goes for the sales department, as they are needed to close deals with other businesses or clients. These two skills are important in bringing revenue to the company, hence, people with these skills are highly sought after.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector has always and will continue to be a growing sector. Be it doctors, nurses or radiographers, there will always be a demand for healthcare services. In Singapore, the healthcare industry faces the issue of manpower shortage- especially in the nursing sector. The issue is exacerbated by the status of our country as a rapidly ageing population, increasing the demand for palliative services. If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated the importance of healthcare workers in our society and healthcare will remain as an industry in demand, come what may.

However, with the onset of technology, it is likely that the future of healthcare would be a little different than what it is today. For instance, in some hospitals, the pharmacies have already adopted the use of robots in preparing medication. This has helped ease the workload of the pharmacists, shortening the process of dispensing medicine to merely 7 minutes per patient. This is only the start and there is more to come. Telemedicine and AI diagnosis could become commonplace for the industry and individuals hoping to join the healthcare industry should equip themselves with the relevant skills. For starters, they can enrol in courses to learn more about computing or 3D technology which could be a part of their jobs in time to come. The incorporation of technology with healthcare also implies the creation of new roles for individuals keen to explore the healthcare industry.

Growth Mindset

Moving on, it has been described that we currently live in a VUCA world. The letters represent the words: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous respectively. This term was invented in an attempt to characterize the unpredictable world we live in today, subjected to volatile changes. VUCA will remain a relevant term as we continue to battle and adapt to the changes imposed by technology. It will be a tough battle and aside from the different skills, we will require a growth mindset.

To elaborate, a growth mindset is the belief that there are always opportunities for growth. Instead of relegating to the mentality that abilities are fixed, an individual with a growth mindset seeks to continually improve themselves and learn what they do not know. Simply put, a growth mindset encourages the love for learning.

Having a growth mindset is pivotal to navigating the job market in these turbulent times and is something employers look out for in potential hires. With a growth mindset, individuals are flexible and can readily adapt to changes in the job. They are willing to learn new things if the job demands it, making them highly desirable in this environment of change.

Creativity

Another soft skill in demand is creativity. The introduction of automation to the workforce has signaled the slow demise of labor-intensive industries, with limited scope for innovation. Instead, innovation has gradually become a prized value for companies to adapt and future-proof themselves. In fact, in an article ranking the soft skills required for career success, creativity took the top spot.

But, what do we exactly mean by creativity? A common misconception is that creativity is only valuable in the arts sector. However, it is actually imbued in our daily lives, as we make important decisions. Simply put, creativity is the ability to think out of the box. In the face of obstacles, creativity will allow us to brainstorm innovative solutions and achieve breakthroughs. By adopting creativity in our tasks, we can also achieve better results and discover new perspectives. As a whole, it will allow organisations to learn new ways of conducting business and grow alongside their employees.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a pivotal soft skill which is in demand by employers. Due to its intangible nature, many people tend to neglect it to their detriment. A common definition for emotional intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own feelings, behaviour and manage them. By understanding our own emotions, we develop empathy for others and work better with our colleagues.

The importance of emotional intelligence is not lost in this age of digitalisation as there will always be a human element in every job. Even in remote settings, employees are required to negotiate and collaborate with coworkers. Emotional intelligence will distinguish individuals for being team players with superior communication and interpersonal skills. In particular, emotional intelligence is crucial for client management in the sales sector.

In a nutshell, these are just some of the skills in demand that you can explore. These skills will remain relevant even in the future with advancements in technology. While the future may seem daunting and unpredictable, we can arm ourselves with the relevant skills and prepare ourselves. It need not be a big step; if you are currently employed, you can check with your boss for up skilling opportunities provided. Alternatively, you can always turn to trusty Google and YouTube to pick up these skills. The list is non-exhaustive but what it represents is a starting point. Begin by working on these skills and future-proof your career today with our skills in demand!

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