The world has changed in a hurry. With some employees out of work, others working at home, and most wondering what the workplace will look like once the pandemic fades, one thing is clear: There are certain skills that will be in high demand as we move forward in a world with COVID-19.
So, what do workplace experts predict will be the top skills that employers will be looking for once they start ramping back up? And what opportunities do you have right now to reskill or upskill so you can position yourself as a strong job candidate? Let’s find out.
Customer Service Skills
Customer service skills never go out of style. Whether continuing to interact in person with customers or finding themselves needing to develop new processes for interacting digitally and from a distance, employees with strong customer service skills will continue to be in high demand. Not to mention, with some non-essential businesses temporarily shut down in certain areas, there will certainly be a large influx of customer calls upon reopening. As Business News Daily says, “Given that providing outstanding customer service is what attracts and maintains customers, being skilled in customer service is a huge asset.”
Digital Communication Skills
While not all employees will work remotely once the crisis has lessened, chances are that remote work will remain an option for some. In addition, some customers will continue to be concerned about face-to-face contact and increasingly rely on technology to connect with businesses of all kinds. Employees adept at communicating in digital environments—e.g. through email, text, web conferencing, etc.—and understanding how to operate the technology itself will be highly sought after. Digital communication skills top the list of what’s likely to be top of mind for employers after COVID-19.
As companies of all types have adapted to shutdowns, social distancing requirements, and CDC recommendations, many have turned to technology to help them stay afloat and in contact with customers and employees. Tech skills were already in demand as many companies found themselves challenged to find employees with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) competencies. That’s likely to remain the case. As an article in Forbes notes: “… anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position.” That’s true whether working in a factory or white-collar office. Tech is everywhere and the more adaptable and willing to learn that you are, the better.
Supply Chain Knowledge
Another thing COVID-19 has taught us is that the supply chain is important—critically important. Remember all of those essential products we can still get at grocery stores and other retail stores? The ability to create and distribute goods quickly, economically, and safely is imperative for companies across a wide range of product categories. Employees in the logistics and distribution field require skills like distribution process management, project management, cost accounting, organization, quality control, process improvement, and more. If you have a solid foundation of these skills, they could be your ticket to a promising entry-level logistics position.
Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence
Employees, regardless of their job or the company they work for, need to be able to interact effectively and peacefully with others—and a variety of moods and personalities. Soft skills such as communication and especially emotional intelligence will always be in high demand. And it’s not only about being emotionally intelligent on an ordinary day; it’s also about being calm and collective on a tough day. The recent pandemic has yielded a wide range of insights about what it takes to succeed in a changing environment. Topping the list is the ability to deal with uncertainty and pressure. McKinsey has predicted that the demand for emotional skills will grow by 26% by 2030.
The Major Takeaway
The big takeaway for employees and/or job seekers like yourself? It’s knowing that the skills that will serve you well in the future are a mix of tried and true competencies (customer service and soft skills), and skills in growing demand (digital communication skills, STEM competencies, and supply chain expertise).