In-demand skills for the post-covid economy

Across industries and job roles there has been remarkable consensus about the skills that are proving most valuable in the post-COVID world of work. These sit alongside the specific technical knowledge and qualifications required for every job role and reflect the importance of attitude for hiring organisations. 

Flexibility and Adaptability

Employees that have responded positively to the upheaval of changing place of work, routine and process execution are those that have thrived during recent months. Unpredictability and uncertainty have increased in many organisations to a point where individuals abilities and willingness to rapidly pivot are now seen as essential.

There’s a corresponding trend from employers to provide their employees with greater flexibility and decision-making power to ensure that the right business decisions are taken quickly, which will appeal to employees comfortable with making professional judgements at speed.

Critical Thinking

Fake news and incomplete data provide the basis for poor decisions, shifting of blame and are designed to divert attention and proper scrutiny.

Unfortunately, our world is currently awash with both fake news and misrepresented data.

Individuals that can critically evaluate information and opinions from multiple sources have a much greater likelihood of making the right call. 

Effective Business Communication

Body language is such an important part of how we communicate. Yet from the rise of video calling to the limitations of the face mask, 2020 has provided an unprecedented challenge to how we communicate with colleagues, customers and suppliers.

Clarity and conciseness of message allied with appreciation for different media means a renewed focus on how we communicate.  

When informal communication opportunities such as ‘corridor conversations’ or ‘water cooler moments’ aren’t possible, employees and organisations need to develop new ways of disseminating information and capturing the informal communication that feeds the richness of organisational behaviour.

Employees that can adapt their communication to make the best use of video tools, ensuring understanding without the full range of non-verbal cues and maintain their social interaction with their professional network are best placed to prosper from these changes. 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence reflects the ability to be aware of other peoples’ feelings, how we express ourselves and understanding of the impact our own emotions have on every aspect of our professional lives.

In 2020 this is reflected through our ability to sensitively interact with those who are uncertain about their job and business prospects; and to engage with those who have differing risk perceptions relating to coronavirus. 

Digital Skills

Pretty much every job in every organisation now has a digital component. At its most basic mastery of your own equipment and productivity software is more essential than ever. Home working trends make it far harder to lean on colleagues or IT support for everyday essentials.

At a more sophisticated level professionals with coding, web development and digital marketing skills are increasingly sought-after as organisations accelerate digital transformation trends that were underway before coronavirus. People who can keep digital businesses running and thriving are on every organisation’s ‘must-hire’ list.

Fortunately for mid-career jobseekers who grew up in a far less digital world, these are all skills that can be quickly acquired from scratch. 

Creativity and Innovation

Necessity is famously the mother of invention and this has been true of how many businesses have adapted. From the swift adoption of food collection by quality restaurants to the contribution of Formula 1 racing teams to the engineering of breathing aids, organisations that have been able to deliver new product and services quickly have been more able to move forward.

Human ingenuity has the power to develop new products and services that reimagine every element of our daily lives.   In a post-COVID world the urgency for many of these to reshape how we work, live and play is ever-more apparent.

Data Literacy

Advances in computing power mean that all businesses have access to greater levels of data than ever before. But data on its own isn’t much use without skilled individuals who can make sense of the patterns and exceptions that turn data into information.

This is particularly true in areas such as sales and marketing where data can be used to better understand customer behaviours, requirements and trends.


The demands of home working, the continued rise of portfolio careers and the gig economy, and the fluidity of teams within organisations means that leadership skills are in demand across the organisation.

Individuals who can bring out the best in others and inspire teams, while ensuring business objectives are delivered are a sought-after group in all job roles.

Commitment to lifelong learning

According to the World Economic Forum[1], over the next five years 35% of the skills required by advanced economies will change. There is only one way to stay relevant and that’s to keep developing your skills.

In a buyers’ market, employers are able to select the candidates with the most up to date skillsets, underpinned by globally applicable certifications.

The requirement to upskill is particularly acute in lower-skilled professions where the rise of automation and the disruption of the coronavirus lockdown are having the greatest impact.

The good news is that the education world is evolving at pace to maximise accessibility, provide flexible delivery, and deliver bite-size programmes with micro-certifications than make upskilling an easier option than ever before.

Request your copy of our full post-covid careers guide. Yes please.

[1] The ten skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum. Alex Gray.