Another year. Careers need to be re-defined and refined; skills need to be gained and polished. And most importantly, you need to be aware of the pulse of the market. What is the present market demand? What skills are indispensable and what are not? What can make you stand out and what can make you just one among thousands?
As you can see, the rate at which technological advancements are happening is outside the realms of practical comprehension. Ironically, it is not technical skills that can increase your chances of getting hired. According to the latest findings from LinkedIn, which analyzed thousands of job postings to identify which skills are most valued by companies in 2019, it was found that recruiters and employers give preference to ‘soft skills’ such as creativity, collaboration, leadership, persuasion over technological skills such as cloud computing, AI or ML.
Another study conducted by the World Economic Forum titled Future of Jobs Reports 2018, highlighted that soft skills such as human skills would be highly valued by 2022.
Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, discussed the importance of social abilities or people skills as it is known popularly during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos.
He emphasized the importance of Emotional Quotient(EQ) as opposed to IQ and highlighted the value of love Intelligence quotient or LQ – which translates to loving yourself, others, and keeping your ego aside. Jack Ma has recognized these as the pillars of success.
In this article, I am going to compile the top soft skills that you need to upskill/reskill this year. I am also going to discuss two top technical skills that are indispensable this year. As there are many corporate training companies/vendors today, learning these skills is not going to be a concern.
Soft Skills That You Need Today
Polishing your soft skills is one of the best career investments that you can make as they can never get outdated or irrelevant.
Moreover, with the rise of AI, their significance has strengthened considerably, as soft skills are the kind of skills that can never be automated. This constitutes one of the reasons why 57% of industry leaders(LinkedIn, 2018 Workplace Learning) think that soft skills are more critical as compared to hard skills.
The soft skills that influence whether you will get hired or not are:
1. Emotional Quotient (EQ)
Emotional Intelligence (known popularly as emotional quotient or EQ) was ranked at the sixth place in the World Economic Forum’s index of the top 10 skills that employees need to thrive in the future workplace. So, what is EQ? EQ refers to a person’s ability to perceive, understand and handle their own emotions.
According to the psychologist Daniel Goleman, EQ has five core components. They are:
- Self-regulation — a person’s ability to control their moods and impulses
- Self-awareness — a person’s comprehension of how their feelings and emotions affect others
- Intrinsic motivation — As the name suggests, a person’s ability to get motivated/driven from inside rather than be influenced by outside rewards
- Empathy — a person’s ability to understand and think from other perspectives. This is crucial for building and leading teams successfully.
- Social skills — a person’s ability to network effectively and to build social relationships.
This year, you can expect a lot of interviews to deal with you, your choice, and your experience working with people. The technical selection process can seem a little shorter as compared. Most employers today would try to measure your EQ in many ways as they believe that a person with strong EQ would be able to navigate the workplace more easily and readily.
In LinkedIn’s report, ‘Skills Companies Need Most In 2019’, Creativity topped the index of the soft skills that are in-demand in 2019. Creativity, the ability to come up with new ideas is not a necessary need of business. However, today a new emphasis on innovation has elevated this skill set to the top of the list.
As you know, technological advancement is accelerating rapidly. There are many human jobs that technology can obliterate shortly. Today, computers can do tasks that humans did in the past. For instance, machines are better at calculation and retention rather than humans. Also, specific routine tasks such as making a check deposit have become much easier with ATM.
Keeping all this in mind, so what can technology not replace or not give? Without any doubt, it is creativity. Though computers can do marvels, they lack the imagination to come up with creative solutions. Thus, creativity will be one of the coveted skills in the future.
Today, recruiters place a lot of value on creative individuals, who can devise creative solutions to any problem. Experts think that creativity is something that should be cultivated outside the workplace. Recent studies show that meditation can help in enhancing and promoting creative thinking. The basic idea is that when a person slows down, rest, and let their minds wander, they will be able to make space for non-linear thoughts.
3. Leadership & Collaboration
One way in which you can grow in your career is by exhibiting leadership skills. Take ownership of your team outcomes, help others in your team and take the lead to improve the process. Leadership skill is always in demand as not everyone can effectively lead others and specifically in this digital era, where change is always around the corner, employers are always on the lookout for potential leaders who can guide the company through change.
As workplaces are increasingly becoming more of a collaborative effort and less of a hierarchy, individuals need to know how to work in a team rather than demand things from others. In the new workforce, employees are expected to work with others in different functional roles, to reach their goals.
According to a Salesforce survey, which studied more than 1400 corporate employees, educators, and executives, it was found that 86% of them thought that workplace failures were caused due to the lack of collaboration. This highlights how collaboration is increasingly being seen as a pathway to success.
4. Learning How to Learn
In the past, individuals learned skills to land a job. Cut to today; individuals learn skills to sustain in their careers. According to a recent report by Deloitte, the average half-life of skill is merely five years. This highlights how skills are getting obsolete at a rapid pace, thus giving rise to the constant demand for upskilling and re-skilling.
Since upskilling is the norm today, there is a need to learn the correct way to learn. This concept has become so important that there are courses today that will teach you how to determine the right direction. Coursera is one of the popular providers of such courses.
Hard Skills refer to expertise in specific areas that can be defined, taught, and measured. These skills typically require the use of the left brain and adherence to a set of rules that can be applied irrespective of the circumstances. Some of the hard skills that are touted to dominate in 2019 are:
5. Cloud Computing
The demand for Cloud computing is enormous today, and experts say that it will continue to have an exponential rise in 2019. LogicMonitor’s recent survey estimates that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud come 2020. Moreover, the same poll reports that 27% of the respondents thought that 95% of all workloads will be running in the cloud by 2025.
These statistics highlight how cloud computing is an excellent skill to invest in for the future.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence has permeated every sphere of our life. From self-driving cars, chat-bots, search-engine recommendations, our interaction with AI has become a usual occurrence; we hardly pay attention to it anymore. This is because of its seamless integration in our life. Understanding AI, learning how it works is an essential skill that anyone can have, given that the revolution in AI has only just started.