Why should you improve your technical skills

Top skills: which skills will be required in the future

Globalization, demographic change and digitization are deeply affecting the labor market. If you want to be prepared for the future, you need top skills. Solid knowledge - acquired through training or studies - is part of it. But the requirements go further. If you want to assert yourself successfully against others, you have to take into account that the expectations of companies are constantly changing. This means that the top skills in demand also change over time. If you only then take care of acquiring these, you are already too late. But what are the capabilities of the future? We dare to look ahead and show which top skills you can score points with in the years to come ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Top skills: Are classic skills no longer important?

It is a natural development that the demands and expectations placed on applicants and employees are subject to the same changes as industries, employers and the entire job market. Innovations make it necessary to react to them. For companies, this means that staff must be trained. At the same time, it is important to find those employees who can achieve the best results under the new conditions.

That begs the question: What about the skills that are currently among the absolute top skills? Or to put it more directly: Are the skills that convince employers today might not be worth anything in the future? If you look at some job advertisements, it quickly becomes clear which top skills are particularly important at the moment.

Top skills are independent of the zeitgeist

Flexibility, resilience, a sense of responsibility, determination and the ability to work in a team are required almost everywhere.

Depending on the industry and profession, there are also creativity, decision-making skills and organizational skills. If you bring a good cross-section of these top skills with you today, you are well positioned to convince HR professionals. Will all of these skills become obsolete in a few years and will be replaced by others that are more in line with the zeitgeist? Such a development is rather unlikely and therefore not to be expected. Rather, new top skills will be added, which also play an important role.

Top skills alone do not make you successful

In any case, it is advisable to acquire top skills and conquer the job market with skills that are in demand. However, it is a fallacy to assume that top skills automatically lead to success. With such an attitude you will fall on your face and wonder why it doesn't work after all. It can also be frustrating if you don't succeed despite important skills you have. Top skills are important and increase the likelihood that you will be successful in your job search, assert yourself against other applicants and be successful in the company.

But they are not a guarantee, but only improve your initial situation. In addition to the top skills, studies, training and work experience continue to be important factors that determine who gets a job.

In addition, you must of course be convincing in the application and during the interview. The best top skills will not get you any further if too many mistakes are made in direct contact with the HR manager or if the skills are not conveyed correctly and credibly.

Top skills: With these you are well positioned

Do you want to equip yourself with the top skills you need for the future so that you don't fall behind later? This is forward-looking and you will gain a head start over those who have not yet made an effort. However, it is not possible to say with absolute certainty what the top skills of the future will be. Developments that are difficult to guess or that are completely unpredictable can ruin even well-founded forecasts. It is also wrong to do without it altogether. Some studies give indications as to which future top skills will be in demand. We show which skills you can particularly score with in the future:

  • Emotional intelligence

    The interpersonal area has so far been largely underrepresented in the professional world. Mostly it is about clear data, facts and of course money, since companies have to be economically successful. In the future, however, emotional intelligence will be one of the skills in demand and high on the list of priorities for employers.

    Strength is shown in communication, but also in the ability to recognize the emotions and needs of other people, to react and respond to them. It is also important for emotional intelligence as a top skill that you are able to deal properly with your own emotions and the feelings of others.

  • Problem-solving skills

    If there is a problem, first ask the boss what to do. A popular and proven strategy for many employees; after all, the line manager knows what to do and can overcome the obstacles. However, many companies are not particularly fond of this attitude.

    Problem-solving competence is therefore one of the top skills of the future, especially with complex and multi-layered problems. Employees should be able to recognize the relationships themselves and to work out and implement corresponding plans in order to identify problems early on and resolve them independently.

  • Critical thinking

    Dealing with yes-men is easy because they always agree, don't seem to have an opinion of their own and want to please others. That can be very pleasant for the working atmosphere, but it is of no use as a top skill. In the future, it is expected that employers will listen more to feedback and views from employees - and critical thinking skills are essential for this.

    An employee who questions processes and decisions in the role of Advocatus Diaboli, for example, really gets involved in the company, provides suggestions for improvement and is the internal drive for innovations and developments.

  • Intercultural Competence

    Many companies are already working internationally. This does not necessarily mean that there are locations abroad, as is the case with large corporations, but producers, suppliers or customers are often located outside of their own country.

    This will increase even further in the future, whereby it will become all the more natural to maintain international business relationships. In order for this to be successful, employees must have intercultural competence in order to professionally combine the different attitudes and mentalities.

  • Willingness to develop

    Standing still in professional life is often synonymous with going backwards. The industry and the market are always on the move and the competition is just waiting to take an advantage. Successful companies cannot afford to stand still. An attitude that is also reflected in the top skills and is passed on to the employees.

    It is no longer enough to rest on the qualifications that were available when you were hired for the job. Employees must be prepared to keep up with the times, to recognize new developments and to align themselves and their own profile accordingly in order to continue to meet the changed requirements.

  • curiosity

    Nobody can know everything, have already dealt extensively with every topic and thus have sound skills in every area. But that is not necessary at all. For most companies it is much more important that employees have a keen curiosity and bring them along for everything that has to do with the job.

    Inquisitive employees have an inner desire and their own motivation to deal with innovations, developments and changes. You don't want to hide from the change that goes hand in hand with digitization, but rather approach it in a targeted and conscious manner - and also have fun with it.

  • Lifelong learning

    Thanks to digitization, lifelong learning and willingness to change are moving more and more to the fore. Of course, companies are always looking for qualified employees, but these are of no long-term benefit if the level of knowledge remains at the same level for years and in the worst case even decades.

    These top skills can be demonstrated by the willingness to take part in regular training courses or by having dealt with developments in advance. You are sure to make a good impression on HR managers - whether it's for your application or in your own company.

  • self-organisation

    Digitization is changing the way tasks are done. Employees can work more independently, flexibility increases and, thanks to decentralized and digital collaboration, those involved can be hundreds of kilometers apart while they are driving a project forward.

    However, this only works if employees have a high level of self-organization. Supervisors are still managers and contacts, but digital work is largely designed and carried out independently.

  • Digital communication

    Even digitization does not change the fact that traditional communication continues to be used and that interpersonal interaction is an important factor. But digital communication is gaining in importance as a sought-after competence. Communication is increasingly taking place digitally and companies rely on employees having the necessary know-how.

    It's not just about emails, but increasingly about video chats, conference calls and communication in social networks. Communicating via these channels should no longer be a challenge in digitization (see also: Zoom Fatigue).

  • Selection of relevant information

    The amount of data and information that employees are confronted with is higher than ever due to digitization. Everything is accessible at any time and from anywhere, databases grow immeasurably and everything important should be fished out of this cosmos of information in order to make the best possible decisions.

    This selective selection of relevant information requires critical and analytical thinking. This is the only way to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to get through the data jungle efficiently and to use the right information as a basis for decisions and actions.

Companies have to act

All of these sought-after top skills are understandable and based on global and technical developments. It is logical that companies are looking for them and increasingly require appropriate skills when selecting applicants in order to strengthen their own position in the market and be successfully positioned for the future. However, it should not be forgotten that employers should not only have expectations, but also bear responsibility themselves and be responsible for taking action.

The changes in digitization are not one-sided, but affect everyone involved. Or to put it another way: If employers expect important top skills, applicants and employees on the other hand can also assume that the company also meets the expectations set by employees.

That means: Employers have to fulfill their part of the cooperation and can not only have increasing demands without becoming active themselves. For example, if you are looking for a high level of self-organization among employees, you should also ensure that the working conditions correspond to this and do justice to the strengths of the employees.

The same applies to lifelong learning. This cannot be expected if nothing is done at the same time to enable further training for employees. If this reciprocity fails to exist, not only is credibility lost and the employer image damaged, but employee satisfaction also suffers, which leads to poorer results, a bad working atmosphere and lower loyalty.

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May 19, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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