The Most Sought-After Skills in 2020

What are the skills employers are looking for now? Do you need to know how to write up an algorithm? Use computer code? Analyze big data? Not exactly. Although the skills companies are looking for do involve some type of analytical thinking, they are not as techy as you might think.

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According to the World Economic Forum, the top skills that companies want, in order, are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility.

Creativity

Creativity clocks in at number three on the 2020 skills list, compared to number 10 on a similar list in 2015, showing that it’s a skill rapidly increasing in value among employers. Negotiation skills, which appeared at number five on the 2015 list, fell to number nine on the 2020 lineup, a sign that employers are expecting new technologies, such as AI and big data, to reduce the need for such skills. In fact, a World Economic Forum survey among companies revealed a widespread belief that AI will eventually have a presence on many boards of directors.

A skill that fell off the 2015 list is active listening. However, emotional intelligence, which makes an appearance at number six on the 2020 list, was absent from the 2015 tally, showing the increasing importance of soft skills in the workplace today.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is generally defined as being aware of your emotions and being able to manage them, as well as understanding and managing the emotions of others. People with emotional intelligence, for example, can recognize when they are feeling angry or frustrated and are able to control and direct the emotion. They are also more sensitive to the emotions of others and are better able to cope with them. Emotional intelligence has gained significance because it is generally believed that people who are better able to recognize these emotional signals, both from themselves and others, are more productive employees and leaders.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and problem solving continue to hold top positions on the list, as they did in 2015. According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, it’s the process of effectively forming concepts, as well as applying, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information that is produced through observation, experience, reasoning, or communicating with other people, and using the results of the analysis as a guide for what you believe and how you act.

It’s based on the criteria of clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth and fairness.

The need for such skills is driven by the advance and pervasiveness of technology, which is affecting almost every industry around the world. Change is occurring more rapidly, and for companies to keep up, they need people who understand the change and how to manage it.

Other Skills

Another highly valued skill is the ability to learn. This in turn involves skills such as knowing how to learn, reading intelligently and taking notes. Reading is something that must be done continually in order to learn and to keep up with expanding knowledge.

Reading widely on a routine basis also helps you analyze information and recognize trends and patterns, as well as improving your written and verbal communication skills. Reading also helps improve soft skills, such as cultivating an appreciation and empathy for others.

Communication skills, both written and verbal, are more important than ever. These skills include things like listening effectively, being able to persuade, explain and work with others, as well as providing useful feedback.

If 2020 is the year you plan to move up the career ladder, let Helpmates help you do so. Take a look at our current career and job opportunities and contact the branch nearest you if you see something that interests you.

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