In a challenging economic landscape, organisations are compelled to take difficult measures to furlough staff or issue redundancies. Amidst increasing job insecurity or job losses across a displaced, global workforce, it’s a time where many of us are battling career uncertainty. But where there’s time, there’s opportunity to learn new skills that will benefit your future employability.
How can you look to future-proof your career when on temporary leave, or facing redundancy? In a turbulent working climate, we explore the top skills that will enable you adapt to the new era of jobs.
As the working world becomes increasingly powered by digital, the future of the recruitment marketplace dictates that even if you don’t work in tech, there is a high probability that you’ll need a requisite level of competency to succeed. Many industries including accountancy, investment banking, manufacturing and e-commerce are increasingly reliant on tech to streamline and automate processes, so expanding your technical skillset is a recommended to give your CV a boost.
There may be technologies in your current profession that you’ve already got your eye on mastering, but if you’re looking to improve your general tech prowess, coding could be a great place to start and provides surprisingly broad benefits. Even simplistic coding skills are revered by employers as they provide a more logical and methodical approach to problem-solving. What’s more, they are not solely valuable for people in highly technical jobs. From marketing, to design, to project management, a basic knowledge of code not only makes you a self-sufficient, integral team member, but allows you to better understand and engage with technical stakeholders in your business. Check out Codeacademy or edX to access beginners courses.
What are the cross-functional skills that you can take with you throughout your career? A strong spectrum of soft skills opens doors to new industries or alternative career paths. In an evolving world of work, as specialist skills become obsolete, there will be core, practical and cognitive skills that will permanently be sought after. in fact, in Robert Walters skills research, 60% of employers demand professional business skills in the roles they recruit for, including problem-solving, communication, people management and innovation.
COVID-19 will have ramifications on our future ways of working. Demonstrating your ability to deliver and engage just as well in a virtual team as in an office will be a key consideration for employers engineering the future, mobile workforce.
Audit your current skillset and consider the soft skills that could boost your long-term employability: for example, where you may thrive in teamwork and generating new ideas, there’s opportunity to strengthen your confidence in leadership and communication. Once you’ve identified those areas of improvement, develop a personal learning plan to structure how you will gain those skills. While it can be harder to find an opportunity to develop those skills outside of the workplace, there’s also some helpful e-learning platforms out there like Cousera or Udemy to support your self-development.
Building on your professional network helps you to learn tips and tricks from inspiring leaders, as well as boosting your exposure for job referrals. Whilst ‘networking’ in itself isn’t perceived as a skill, it’s a gateway to access new skills from outside your organisation and collaborate, on top of giving credibility to your profile.
If networking is something you’re not over familiar with practising, LinkedIn is a great starting point to join professional groups, access industry leading content and training webinars, as well as checking in with former colleagues. Networking also goes hand in hand with commercial awareness. An ability to engage digitally means you’re finger is on the pulse with the latest trends impacting on your profession, elevating your understanding of how industries operate.
From financial planning and project management, to data analysis and presenting results, you’ll find an excel spreadsheet will often find its way into your working life, seen as a standard in the business world. Getting clued up on handy formulae, discovering key shortcuts or learning to extend your use of the platform could help you to progress from being an intermediate, to an advanced user. As a globally applied management platform, you’ll find no trouble in accessing online tutorials to help you.
Going further, platforms such as Excel organically help you to enhance your data analysis skills, as you identify trends and making interpretations from data – a skill you can transfer seamlessly to other data or CRM platforms that you’ll no doubt encounter in your career.
Also, Anthony Pusa, Consultant - Sales & Marketing at Robert Walters Philippines, notes, "Digitalisation cannot fully replace personal interactions, so nurture your empathy and communication skills. Whether your role requires customer service, or your working within a team, communication built upon an understanding of each party’s needs are crucial to help you build relationships and strong teams."
The World Economic Forum (WEF) reveals that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist, so sticking to set career path could limit your options in the future jobs market – you need to be flexible and adaptive as and when opportunities come your way. And it’s not just about keeping an open mind to alternative career paths, COVID-19 will have ramifications on our future ways of working. Demonstrating your ability to deliver and engage just as well in a virtual team as in an office will be a key consideration for employers engineering the future, mobile workforce.
Want to avoid a career dead-end? Focusing on building a fluid professional skillset is the key to excel to the next generation of jobs and adapt to the ever-changing workplace. Whilst a period of time out of work is understandably daunting, capitalise on this time to prepare for the future.
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