The Covid-19 pandemic has been an accelerant of trends we’ve long been predicting. What we’ve been discussing as the “future of work” is happening now and the pandemic workplace is constantly evolving. Seemingly overnight, companies adopted remote work models and organizations have fast-tracked digital transformation to stay competitive. As recruiters, we often advise that clients further sharpen their edge by investing in upskilling and reskilling employees. And to candidates, we strategically recommend the same. As a professional you can take the initiative to grow your skillset to remain relevant in today’s fluid workplace. ‘Upskilling’ means to improve upon existing skills to deepen your abilities and position yourself to take on expanded responsibilities, while ‘reskilling’ requires a pivot to develop a brand-new skillset. As you plan for your future career, you may find yourself needing to both upskill and reskill. To set you up for success, our expert recruiters are sharing their advice:
Planning for the future
Many companies had to quickly adopt remote work policies when the pandemic hit and there was a clear adjustment period. However, organizations were able to successfully navigate the transition to a flexible work model and many are planning to continue these policies post-pandemic. Because of this we expect to see more distributed teams and increasingly flexible work models. The digital evolution of work will continue. AI and Machine Learning will change how works gets done and we’ll see new tools and systems that increase productivity. With all of these changes on the horizon, there are some key skillsets that you as an employee can build to remain a highly desirable candidate. The skills gap is real and in order to navigate the competitive talent market, employers are seeking candidates who are naturally quick learners and able to pivot with ease.
What skills are hiring managers looking for?
As you think about your current role and the future of work you might be wondering where you should focus your efforts and what skills you should invest in. Where we’re seeing a high demand as recruiters is for the digital skillset, including digital marketing, data analytics/data science, web development, user experience, and e-commerce. Soft skills are also increasingly in-demand and the remote work model has made particular ones even more valuable. In a recent study of hiring managers we found that some of the most desirable soft skills include communication, self-starting, collaboration, and time-management. Flexibility and the ability to learn new skills are also key. As the workplace continues to change, workers will need to be adaptable and able to pivot. Researching job descriptions for positions you aspire to is great way to determine what skills you’ll need as you plan for the future. Another professional development tip is to speak with your current manager to suggest areas you can improve. As you determine the upskill and reskill requirements for your next job moves, reflect on any training you've had over the years as well as your unique proficiency to determine what's transferable. Connecting the dots between your past experiences, your current role, and desired career will be instrumental in figuring out where you need to invest time.
Ways to upskill and reskill
When you’re ready to start upskilling or reskilling, the great news is that there are more free professional development resources available online than ever before, at low or no cost. Whether you’re trying to grow your career in digital marketing, design or e-commerce, there’s a course out there for you. If you want to gain more hands-on experience, talk to your team-members or manager to see if there are additional projects you can take on to grow your skillset. Consider volunteering to be on a taskforce or committee at work to help build your communication and leadership skills. Or take on pro-bono side-gig projects if you want to build a completely new skillset. Signing up for webinars is a great way to learn what trends are emerging in your industry and potentially make new connections in your field. The possibilities are endless. Plus this kind of initiative and inclination for learning are additional soft skills to promote with future employers.
If you’re ready to start growing your skillset now, check out 24 Seven’s Upskill Workshop. If you’re looking for remote work, check out our openings here. And for more resources to support your job search click here.