Most-needed Job Skills in a Pandemic and Post-pandemic World

By Angela Hayes, Ph.D.

As many of us are observing safer at home suggestions, are working at home, or are looking for work, we are left to wonder what the world and job market will look like in the next months and possibly years. There’s a lot unknown about how the world will transform after we get Covid 19 under control, but it is extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before. Our workplaces are likely to change as well as the skills that companies will require. Here are 8 job skills that are likely to be in high demand both now, and in a post-Covid 19 world: adaptability and flexibility, tech savviness, creativity and innovation, data literacy, critical thinking, digital and coding skills, leadership, emotional intelligence, and a commitment to a lifetime of learning.

The world was already changing rapidly, but the pandemic accelerated it. The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they try to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions. The reality is that technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies effectively use these technologies will be in a great position.

No matter where you work, you’ll likely need to be comfortable working with tech at some level. We have already seen the importance of creativity and innovation during the pandemic. Businesses that have been able to come up with ways to deliver services virtually or quickly shift to new products have been able to better weather the storm. We’ll continue to need ingenuity to invent and dream up new products and ways of working. Creativity is going to be essential. And data is a critical asset for every company. With the right data, companies are able to better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better able to serve customers with the right products and services during or after any pandemic. However, the data is useless to a company unless there are people equipped with skills to understand the data and make better decisions because of it. So people with data literacy will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before. Another skill that will be essential is critical thinking. During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in misrepresentations of data and studies. People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible, and help make decisions based on the data, will be valued.

People who can keep the digital business running—and thriving—during economic downturns or pandemics that make in-person business impossible or less efficient are going to be on the must-hire list.  One of the changes in a world where social distancing and working at home might continue for the foreseeable future, is that more people at all levels of an organization will be in a position where they need to lead others. The gig economy is only going to grow, and people will be working in more fluid teams where different people are taking the lead at different times. Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage collaboration, will be in demand. Closely linked to leadership is another skill that is even more important in uncertain and challenging times: Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be aware of others’ emotions is what emotional intelligence is all about. At times when people might feel uncertain about their job and the future of their business, it is key to connect with people on an emotional level. So individuals with strong emotional intelligence will be needed by organizations of all sizes and in all industries. And finally, when faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced job skills will be in demand and will likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier. There are endless free and low cost options to take courses and gain certifications that will help you improve your skills and make you more attractive to organizations.

Angela Hayes, Associate Director of Alumni and Online Career Engagement

ANGELA HAYES serves as the Associate Director of Alumni and Online Career Engagement. Prior to coming to CSU, she worked as the Assistant Director of Alumni and Graduate Student Career Services at Kansas State University. She has a B.S. in psychology, an M.S. in industrial/organizational psychology and a Ph.D. in professional coaching and human development. She’s a nationally Board Certified Coach and a nationally Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

She has a passion for helping others to see their lives as full of possibilities and un-tapped potential. She views changes/transitions (both planned and unplanned) as opportunities for individuals to discover and plan out what they really want from their careers and lives.