Five workplace skills to become
more employable after COVID-19

According to the Open University, COVID-19 is expected to significantly change the skills required for as many as 5 million job roles across the UK. While lockdown has provided many of us with the opportunity to undertake some distance learning, younger employees say they’d like more direction from employers to ensure their new skills become valued assets.

So, what skills will be in high demand as we go into recovery phase? Whether you’re looking for a new role or a change in direction, here are the Adecco Group UK&I’s suggestions for areas where you can reskill or upskill now to position yourself as a strong job candidate in the post-COVID-19 world.

     1.       Agility and adaptability

Adaptability is a skill that’s always in demand says Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at University College London: “Organisations seek out candidates who demonstrate agility in order to work outside their comfort zone. This could be using new technology, familiarising yourself with new topics or simply showing a willingness to try out new processes.” In the post COVID-19 workplace, agility and adaptability will enable you to thrive at work regardless of changes to the environment you’re working in, putting you in a strong position.

     2.       Digital Skills

Remote working, the digital economy and virtual offices are going to feature more in everyone’s life says the London School of Economics careers advice service, meaning that demand for digital skills is growing exponentially. In the new world order where “collaboration tools, communication, entertainment, information, data and the multitude of other services provided by technology are going to become even more important”, careers with a digital element are going to flourish. Many have already been investing in their digital skills during lockdown through one of the free digital courses on offer.                                                                                                       

     3.       Innovation and entrepreneurial mindset

COVID-19 has unleashed a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship that’s also going to be needed during recovery. “Scientists and entrepreneurs spend their lives anticipating and creating the future” says the World Economic Forum in its piece on how entrepreneurial thinking can end the COVID-19 crisis. At the Adecco Group UK&I we’ve long advocated entrepreneurial spirit and it’s one of the qualities we look for in our CEO for One Month programme.  Entrepreneurial thinking is embodied by creativity, resourcefulness, resilience and determination which will be much needed in the post COVID-19 workforce.

     4.       STEM Skills

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematical modelling save lives – we see that more than ever in the current COVID-19 crisis” says tech industry body, Tech UK. What about after the pandemic has passed however? There will still be an increased demand for valuable STEM skills: “This is not the first public health and economic crisis, but it certainly is the first one where tech has become critical for business to continue”. This will elevate the status of STEM skills according to Mark Dorman, a STEM recruiter talking to Information Age.

     5.       Empathetic leadership

Gone are the days of command and control. Whether you’re a supervisor or a corporate leader, empathetic leadership is required in the post COVID-19 world. Management and leadership consultancy, McKinsey & Company, describes the four essential leadership qualities as awareness, vulnerability, empathy and compassion. These characteristics are critical to care for people in crisis and to prepare for business recovery. To start cultivating these behaviours, McKinsey advises tuning in to others, uncovering what you feel, practicing gratitude daily and opening yourself to others’ expressions of care.

The major takeaway

The major takeaway for employees and job seekers is that the key to success is a commitment to lifelong learning. The World Economic Forum is calling on businesses to ‘build back better’ in the post COVID-19 world. The number one recommendation? Retraining employees through upskilling and reskilling. A career in which you have the opportunity to reskill and upskill on an ongoing basis will mean you can embrace whatever life and work have in store for you.