I’m sure you’re tired of hearing that the pandemic changed everything, but it holds true as far as the job market is concerned.
Digital transformation leapt forward by five years almost overnight, as companies were forced to improvise and took their businesses online. For example, Estee Lauder had to pivot overnight and incorporate AR into their online operations to allow their customers to virtually ‘try on’ their cosmetics.
Digital transformation has changed the skills that employers need from their workforce. They are increasingly having less use for manual skills as roles that require those are becoming automated.
In fact, 56% of Hiring Managers anticipate interventions like AI and other workplace automation will cause a significant shift in the skills they need from their staff. Instead, what they need are employees with good interpersonal skills, who can communicate effectively and have strong IT skills.
According to McKinsey & Company, 87% of companies globally know they already have a skills gap or will have one within a few years and this gap in digital skills comes at a cost. Fourteen G20 countries could miss out on cumulative GDP growth of $11.5 trillion.
So, what are the top skills employers look for in job seekers in 2022?
Top five skills employers are looking for in 2022.
Job seekers must have a combination of workplace skills and a range of soft skills to ensure they can perform everything required to succeed in the current job market.
The ‘great resignation’ has given job seekers an exceptional opportunity, but to make the most of this, they need to acquire the skills that the market needs to benefit from this unique set of circumstances. The current skills shortage will give an unfair advantage to those candidates who are prepared and have some, if not all, of the skills employers are demanding.
The five top skills, both workplace skills and soft skills, are:
- Communications skills
- Cognitive skills
- Interpersonal skills
- IT skills, basic to advanced
- Digital marketing skills
Let’s break down each of these skills in more detail.
Communication skills are vital in every workplace and are seen as one of the critical skills that every potential employee needs.
These skills cover a wide range of communication methods, from speaking coherently and persuasively with customers and other team members to presentation skills.
Included under speaking and presentation skills are a good vocabulary, the ability to actively listen, and the confidence to speak to stakeholders and conduct meetings with your peers and senior management.
An equally important communication skill is being able to write effectively. This could include report writing, creating advertising copy, sending persuasive, compelling emails, and copywriting would be advantageous if you are in a creative industry.
Other elements of communication that are often overlooked include negotiation skills if you’re in sales or management, the ability to delegate and motivate a team and being honest and empathetic with everyone you communicate with.
Though not seen as vital in unskilled manual roles, in the new job landscape brought about by the rapid digital transformation that has taken place over the last two years, cognitive abilities for many positions are considered a prerequisite.
Critical thinking is essential to analyse a problem, situation, or issue based upon the available evidence and other relevant information. A critical thinker doesn’t just accept information or conclusion without examining the reasoning and assumptions behind them. This skill is often viewed as essential for potential leaders and can be learnt and practised by questioning assumptions, applying logical reason and diversifying.
Analytical skills involve breaking down a complex concept into smaller parts to enable you to tackle a problem, make projections or generate new ideas. Employers tend to favour candidates who have strong analytical skills as they are essential for developing and strategising.
Interpersonal skills cover several areas that are vital for a candidate to work effectively in a workplace environment. These workplace skills include collaborating with other team members, taking responsibility for your areas, dependability and flexibility.
These skills enable you to interact and communicate in scenarios where cooperation and collaboration are essential. From an employer’s point of view, these skills are vital so they can be confident you will be able to work effectively in a team. They will also help you understand your colleagues and adapt your approach according to the situation you are in, enabling you to flourish in your role.
Strong interpersonal skills can help you build strong positive relationships and reduce the potential for conflict.
Today’s workplace is largely digital, using email, word processing and basic spreadsheets as a minimum.
However, many businesses have undergone digital transformation, and the expectation for many roles is greater digital fluency. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, when organisations were forced to move to remote working and revamp their digital infrastructures, there has been a significant uptick in software development jobs, blockchain and cyber security.
According to CompTIA, the skills gap of the future is two-pronged; organisations seek IT staff to fill the need for both interpersonal/soft skills and technical/hard skills. Over three quarters (79%) of organisations are pursuing initiatives to address these gaps amid a tightening market for IT labour.
An emerging trend in the software development industry is hyper-automation, where complex business processes are automated using AI, robotic process automation and loco application platforms.
A side-effect of the rapid digital transformation that has taken place since the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020 is companies to promote their products and services on the Internet so that their customers can find them.
According to a report by ground research view, the digital marketing software sector is predicted to grow from $56.52 billion to $182.21 billion in 2028. The key skills required to succeed in digital marketing in 2022 are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Data-driven marketing
- E-commerce marketing
- Social media marketing
- Social media optimisation
- Display advertising
- Email marketing
In a report from LinkedIn, digital marketing jobs increased by 63% in the first six months of 2021 and between June 2020 and June 2021, there were 381,000 marketing jobs on the platform, of which 17,000 were remote.
How to gain the skills necessary to succeed in the job market
The opportunities available to talented candidates have never been greater. Still, to succeed, you must have the skills in demand due to the rapid digital transformation that has occurred over the last two years.
LinkedIn offers courses through LinkedIn learning to improve computer skills and take you to the next level, as do online learning portals like Udemy and the Khan academy.
More specialised courses in computer programming are available through organisations like Future Learn and Coursera or Google ‘how to learn’, the skill you want to acquire, and the providers are endless.
If you have or are prepared to brush up on the top skills employers are looking for in 2022, you will be in demand. The skills shortage is providing myriad opportunities for candidates who can demonstrate they have the skills employers need to drive their businesses forward.
Spend the time reskilling, and you will be well placed to start a career that will be interesting and rewarding for years to come.