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Understanding the shift in essential skills

Niki Turner-Harding, Managing Director - Adecco UK and Ireland

Coronavirus has had a drastic impact on the jobs market in the UK with many people facing hardship, unemployment, and redundancy as a result. It is a difficult time, especially for those who have found themselves without a job after many years of employment. It can also be a daunting prospect to re-enter the job market and the competition for jobs is higher than it has ever been before.

In order to improve employability as we continue to transition into the new normal, here are some of the top skills that employers will be looking for in 2021.

Adaptability and Resilience
Adaptability is highly sought after now as employers look to balance operational management with staffing levels and cost. It means that flexible working hours have become increasingly popular as well as making sure that employees can cope with changing work environments and duties.

Businesses all over the country continue to face tough decisions, and the third lockdown has only increased the difficulties in remaining operational from one week to the next. This means that employers are looking for team players that can contribute in challenging circumstances and work independently when needed.

Resilience and the ability to cope with changes as they happen, while maintaining the same work ethic, are also highly desirable skills. Job seekers demonstrating these two qualities will unquestionably be preferred in the current job market.

Digital Skills and Analytics
It’s no secret that the workplace is rapidly becoming more tech focused, and we are now well and truly progressing to a fully realised digital age. This means that computer skills are not only the norm now, but also skills that are much more technical are required. Coding, website administration, programming and database management are now highly desirable, and basic computer skills are simply expected by employers.

Performance is increasingly being monitored by computers, so it’s important candidates can showcase both analytical and digital skills to stand out in a crowded labour market. Automation within the workplace is also set to become increasingly common as organisations strive to stay ahead of the technological curve.

Niki Turner-Harding, Managing Director of Adecco UK and Ireland, comments: “Technology is an important tool in enhancing business progress and future proofing the workforce.

“The Future of Jobs Report 2020 stated that the workforce is automating faster than expected and more than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitise work processes and deploy new technologies.

“Therefore, candidates who have invested in expanding their skillsets within the digital space will stand out to organisations, and improve their chances of long-term job security.”

Leadership Skills
It’s not just ‘new’ skillsets though, and sometimes the traditional skills are equally as important as the modern ones. One of the primary drivers that an employer has when employing someone is how passionate they are about the company vision.

Leadership, in this respect, doesn’t necessarily mean the general manager or the department head. Instead, employers are looking for individuals that will create a sense of community within the team, lead by example, and work towards the common company goal.

Employers are more likely to hire an individual who demonstrates enthusiasm and shows they are results orientated, against other applicants.

Emotional Intelligence
One of the key considerations an employer will make during the hiring process is where a candidate will fit into the current team and how well they will integrate. This is why soft skills are so important.

While leadership is about highlighting situations where a candidate has helped lead a team, or even worked independently to drive a company forward, emotional intelligence is about communicating effectively and showing that they can work well both individually and as part of a team.

Emotional intelligence is sometimes confused with being able to show emotions openly, instead it is more about the wisdom of knowing when to show emotions and when it isn’t appropriate.

Looking for Work after COVID-19
The labour market post-COVID-19 will look different, but opportunity will remain. Candidates shouldn’t be deterred from seeking job roles during this current time, as many organisations will still be looking to recruit talent that will help them to strengthen their workforce.

Job seekers should take this opportunity to update CVs, evaluate skillsets against the needs of employers and position themselves to be the best candidate that they can be.

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