Now, you may wonder how you can best prepare for your future career in such a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. Demographic changes, globalization, and digitalization are having a profound impact on how employees are required to perform their jobs in 2020.
The soft skills that employers require for work are changing as well. Businesses want to have a more productive and innovative workforce that possesses skills that are applicable in many fields.
You should develop a full suite of soft skills and abilities to make sure that you are in a good position to maintain stable and steady employment. By honing the most essential skills, you will be able to show your recruiter that you are the best candidate for the role and will bring value to their organization.
Employers have already outlined a set of soft skills that they want from an employee in 2020. Here are the most important ones:
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a quality sought by most employers of university graduates. It is the ability to think rationally and clearly. Critical thinking includes the component skills of solving problems, making decisions, judging, evaluating, and analyzing arguments. A critical thinker can deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems and to seek relevant sources of information. Good critical thinking meets the criteria of such intellectual values as accuracy, clarity, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and good reasons.
If you work in education, research, finance, management, or the legal profession, then critical thinking is important. At your workplace, critical thinking can distinguish you as a leader and a problem solver. That is why it is so important to develop these soft skills if you want to become a better candidate for a new job or promotion.
How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills?
- Continually go back to the basic questions when approaching any problems.
- Question your basic assumptions.
- Be aware of your prejudices and cognitive biases.
- Evaluate the existing evidence.
- Always do your research to come up with a reasonable answer.
- Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning.
- Become a critic of your thoughts and actions.
It`s no secret that our workplace challenges are becoming more and more complex. It, in turn, requires the will, effort, soft skills, and expertise of people from different departments of one organization. That`s why employers look for extremely collaborative people these days. Collaboration is a process through which people who see different aspects of a problem come to an effective solution. Collaboration generates new ideas, improves productivity, and promotes healthy employee relationships.
When members of a team collaborate, they can utilize the knowledge, experience, and skills of everyone involved. Businesses encourage collaboration among their teams since it promotes self-analysis, creates a talent pool of experienced and competent people, and make employees learn from each other.
How to Develop Collaboration Skills?
- Demonstrate respect for the opinions, expertise, and experience of others.
- Address negativity with empathy.
- Be an active listener to make other team members feel valuable
- Work on projects outside your comfort zone
- Settle disputes through conflict management.
- Share your enthusiasm to keep the excitement to work together.
- Participate in team-building activities.
3. Stress Management
Work-related stress is now generally acknowledged as a global issue. The number of employees calling in sick because of stress has tripled in recent years. This problem is getting even worse because employees continually face such common job stressors as monotonous tasks, inability to meet deadlines, inflexible working schedules, job insecurity, unfair performance evaluation systems, poor organizational culture, and many others.
Being able to manage stress is an extremely valuable asset nowadays since employers want to hire those people who can easily adapt to change and endure increasing pressure. Some of the consequences of work-related stress that an organization might face include increasing costs, decreasing performance and productivity, decreasing work commitment, increasing turnover, and increasing absenteeism. Businesses do their best to avoid these potential problems by creating a resilient workforce that is more engaged, more productive and better able to handle increased stress and workloads.
How to Develop Stress Management Skills?
- Become aware of things that make you feel stressed.
- Learn to accept things as they are.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Try to accept that reality can fall short of what your expectations may be.
- Consider problems as challenges.
- Recognize what you can change and what you can`t.
- Improve your time management.
- Live a balanced life.
4. Novel and Adaptive Thinking
Are you able to come up with out-of-the-box ideas? It is the sort of skill that will set you apart from other candidates while applying for a job? Novel and adaptive thinking will be at a premium in the next decade, particularly as automation continues. It is essential for improving task performance during times of organizational change. Adaptive thinking involves the ability to recognize unexpected situations, decide which response is the best, and perform at a high level under stressful and unpredictable circumstances.
These skills allow you to follow the rules while still being innovative. Organizations want to work with people who can plan effectively, monitor different processes carefully, and shift thinking and behaviour flexibly to accommodate circumstantial changes.
How to Develop Novel and Adaptive Thinking Skills?
- Do visualization and guided imagery exercises.
- Develop good mental representations of the desired performance.
- Build the habit of arguing with articles you read online.
- Take a single problem and try to work out which of many possible solutions is the correct one.
5. Data Literacy
Data literacy will undoubtedly be essential for keeping different kinds of businesses relevant in 2020. The problem is that these days employees are not very good at interpreting information and making sense of it. According to research, only 24% of business decision-makers feel fully confident in their ability to analyze and argue with data and derive meaningful information from it. So, employers in 2020 want to work with data-literate people, that is people who understand which data is relevant to ask the right questions, create easy-to-understand visualizations, and interpret the data well.
How to Develop Data Literacy Skills?
- Start reading books about data.
- Experiment with questions of the data to figure out questions that work and do not work.
- Pose questions around data.
- When finding questions about the data that work or do not work, ask why that is the case.
6. Social Intelligence
In today’s business world, people must realize the importance of effective communication. It was confirmed that thousands of employees have recently lost their jobs due to their lack of social incompetence.
In 2020, it won`t be enough just to be good at your job. You have to rethink your style of working and become more adaptive to your social environment.
Social intelligence skills are claimed to be important in various organizational environments since they help employees to become more productive and successful at what they do. What is more, they are essential for effective leadership and help teams work together. Employers look for talented people who are capable to act wisely while maintaining human relations, have a desire to meet new people, are always ready with proper responses to every query, can motivate and influence others. In other words, a perfect employee in 2020 should know how to be the people`s person.
How to Develop Social Intelligence Skills?
- Learn to examine your perceptions and question assumptions.
- Identify your feelings.
- Pay attention to other people.
- Improve your communication skills.
- Establish healthy ways of conflict resolution.
- Go out and interact with people.
- Practice expressive body language.
7. Technological Skills
Digital technologies are now commonplace in daily life and becoming embedded in the working culture. It makes technical skills more relevant than ever. Employees are so fond of them because their application can greatly improve work efficiency. Having a workforce that knows how to use them properly is key to a company`s success. If you want to become more employable, you should add such valuable skills to your arsenal as the ability to design and create websites, graphic design, coding, statistical software management, expert data analysis, advanced social selling, and mobile expertise. It is very important to embrace digital skills in the workplace because they can increase business productivity, provide new ways of working, increase revenue, and build stronger customer relationships.
How to Develop Technological Skills?
- Pay attention to technology trends.
- Volunteer to participate in technology projects.
- Take classes on data analytics and accounting information systems.
- Take advantage of online resources to solve computer issues.
- Spend time with an expert.
- Subscribe to technical sites and magazines.
8. Complex Decision Making
Decision making skill is required in many different situations across numerous business areas. Unforeseen situations, complex projects, and everyday tasks that organizations might face always need appropriate and timely courses of action. That is why making decisions with soft skills that produce successful results are so critical for any company.
In 2020, your potential employers will make you deal with different difficult situations to check whether you are an effective decision-maker. If you can make the best possible choice in the shortest time possible, you will have an advantage over those applicants who can`t do it. Candidates should also be able to analyze data and predict the outcome of each option before jumping to a conclusion. And it is worth remembering that employers always opt for applicants who can support their decisions.
How to Develop Complex Decision-making Skills?
- Clearly define the nature of the decision you must make.
- Collect some pertinent information before making a decision.
- Identify several possible paths of action.
- Weigh the evidence.
- Consider the results of your decision.
- Always visualize the scenario and the possible outcome.
9. Cross-Cultural Competence
It is expected that more people will work in culturally diverse teams in 2020. The new globalizing business environment requires cross-culturally competent employees with a global mindset who can adapt to change, learn quickly, and communicate effectively. For this reason, employing people to speak the language and understand the culture of international partners and clients will deliver a significant advantage.
How to Develop Cross-cultural Competence?
- Learn and understand new cultures.
- Learn about your cultural preferences.
- Be as open and transparent as you can genuinely be.
- Learn as much as you can about how relationships are built.
- Learn how to read local body language and non-verbal cues.
- Keep an open mind.
- Facilitate meaningful conversation.
- Acknowledge your implicit assumptions and biases.
10. Organizational Skills
To be successful in 2020 means to be organized. Recruiters want their employees to be organized and able to meet deadlines and targets. This useful set of soft skills will help you plan and prioritize your actions and activities, delegate tasks more effectively, avoid stress, and receive greater satisfaction from work experiences. Here is how to improve your organizational skills:
- Categorize items in your workspace and assign a storage space for each category.
- Declutter your desk when the work is over.
- Manage good use of all the time-management tools.
- Use your notebook to record the key points from meetings and conversations.
- Explore different options for labeling or filing emails.
- Schedule small tasks.
- Plan your whole day carefully.
- Create an overall list of what in the business needs to be organized.
- Determine which tasks are most important at each moment.
- Evaluate how you tackle specific jobs and how you choose to collaborate with your colleagues.
You will be able to become more successful in your interactions, from attending job interviews to creating a positive emotional environment at work by developing and training these valuable soft skills and abilities.