Five Skills to Cope for the Post-COVID Labour Market

Covid-19 is simply a rogue wave that is bringing about the underlying changes in the labour market. Pre-COVID, the labour market was going through considerable progressions that modified skills in demand, job geography, changing informality to formality, composition and size of the labour community. These modifications are now apparent due to the pandemic, an avenue to solidify these changes and make things better than they were in the workplace has been introduced. 

The ILO estimated job loss in Myanmar in the first half of 2021, 14% of working hours were lost, which equals the working time of at least 2.2 million full-time workers and over a 400million jobs have been lost globally as most businesses are forced to shut down. New technologies are creating new job roles and opportunities, which is why encouraging new skills sets and rapid re-skilling to fit the present labour market is crucial.

Around the globe, response to COVID-19 has given rise to the most rapid transformation of the workplace. Remote jobs are now the new normal, and we’ve gone from digitizing the relationship between an establishment and customer to digitizing the relationship between employer and employee.

Being hurled forward to fast-tracking trends such as automation, digitalization, and innovation. The quick adoption of new, advanced technology is a catalyst and would lead to an acceleration in the creation of new roles. Changes in workload during the pandemic have sometimes resulted in an imbalance of resource allocation. Reskilling and upskilling can help employees move from one part of the business to another.

  • Soft skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Multilingual skills
  • IT skills
  • Business Development skills

Soft Skills

Contrasting to technical skills or “hard” skills, soft skills are interpersonal and behavioural skills that help you work well with other people and develop your career. These are the competencies that relate to how you work and how you interact with other people. Soft skills are often transferable across careers and industries. That is, soft skills are not job-specific. As a result, you may find that you possess many of the required traits even if you don’t match the exact profile in a job description. This comes in handy in upskilling for the present labour market, pay special attention to posts calling for candidates with soft skills or traits you possess.

 Major soft skills employers look out for are:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Work ethic

 Employers look for soft skills in candidates owing to the fact that these skills are hard to teach and are important for long-term success. Soft skills are different from hard skills, which are technical and job-specific.

Communication

Excellent communication skills are important, the ability to properly communicate and be understood plays a crucial role especially in teamwork. Dialogue, active listening, empathy, writing and public speaking are examples of effective communication methods.

Creativity 

Creativity is an all-inclusive ability incorporating almost different skill sets including other soft skills and technical skills. Employees with creativity are forward-thinking and find new ways to perform tasks, improve processes or even develop new business avenues. Creativity is not limited to a particular role or level. In recent times the labour market has had an increased demand for very creative candidates. Curiosity, open-mindedness, taking calculated risks, innovation and experimentation are associated with creativity.

Problem Solving 

Quick-witted individuals and candidates that can resolve a problem both successfully and quickly are looked for. Be it a technical or industry knowledge required and the time taken for long term solution or research results to be produced. Critical thinking, analytics, research, teamwork and decision making are all problem-solving skills.

Adaptability 

The ability to adapt quickly to new technology, workspace, changes in the tools and job processes is highly considered when selecting candidates. The pandemic is an example of why the mastery of this skill is heavily weighted. Being eager, cooperative, willing to learn and enthusiastic aids adaptability

Personal work ethics 

Having a good work ethic is the ability to follow through on tasks and duties in a timely, uncompromised manner. A good work ethic will help ensure you develop a positive relationship with your employer and colleagues, even when you are still developing technical skills in a new job. Someone who is eager to learn and has a strong work ethic is always preferable to a skilled worker without ethics. Examples of work ethics include judicious time management, organisation, persistence and dependability.

Analytical Skills

These are skills that deal with finding solutions to common problems and making informed decisions about actions to take. Understanding problems and analyzing the situation for viable solutions is a key skill in every position at every level. Developing this ability can improve your work, help you achieve company goals and eventually support your personal career goals.

Employing analytical skills depicts being able to base your decisions on meaningful data. Making informed decisions on a task makes an impact on your business or job and can quickly make you a valued and indispensable team member. You can use your analytical skills to determine how to approach tasks to yield satisfactory results.

Job fields where analytic skills are required include; computer programming, architecture, laboratory analysts, data scientist, data engineering, software engineering, economics business analyst, cybersecurity analyst, teaching and customer service. And these are jobs fit for the post-COVID labour market.

Analytical skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, research, data and information analysis and communication.

Multilingual Skills

A multilingual person can communicate in more than one language either through speaking, writing, or signing. People who are multilingual can speak any language they write in, but cannot particularly write in any language they speak.

Learning to communicate in a new language is an important skill for the post-COVID labour market as multilingual candidates possess these skill sets over those that are monolingual;

  • Enhanced communication skills as they are likely more exposed than monolingual candidates. They are adept at considering other people’s views, which is important in teamwork. They are also able to understand a wider customer audience.
  • Higher functioning skills are cognitive capabilities in multilingual people that include reasoning, planning, and problem solving in areas of inhibition, monitoring. Strong executive functioning skills is a significant predictor of success
  • Excellent  multitaskers as they can easily switch from one language to another
  • Improves memory and ability to produce faster results

Multilingual have important labour market advantages over monolingual individuals as bilingual people can carry out duties that monolinguals cannot, like interacting with customers who only speak a minority language. It’s a necessary skill to make you fit into the present labour market.

 IT Skills

These may be as well described as the most important upskill for candidates seeking or already in the labour market presently. There are a variety of IT skills and it’s now easier to acquire these skills, get certification and be eligible for employment. The demand for candidates with IT skills is almost 100% of what it was pre-COVID. This is simply because most job fields requiring IT skills are remote-jobs, also the digital age has automatically placed a demand for these skills. These can also be referred to as basic computer skills.

  • Productivity software:  The use of software to create information in different formats include sheets, documents, graphs etc. This is to make data representation easier eg of this skill includes: Word processing software,spreadsheet software, presentation software, email, management,data entry etc
  • Operating systems: A software used to under the basic functioning of a computer, this is important as most computers use an operating system to receive and carry out tasks.
  • Digital marketing: This is simply advertising the products or services of a firm in strategic ways using digital means with the aim of reaching the target audience and converting them to actual customers. A variety of digital marketing tools allows companies to use their preferred method of targeting their target audience. Examples of digital marketing: Email marketing, digital advertising, content management systems, website analytics, search engine optimization, digital media, content marketing, social media marketing and using product influencers.
  • Computer programming: This is an evergreen skill as the digital age relies heavily on this skill and the labour market always needs it. It involves the creation, design and building of computer software and applications to perform a wide variety of tasks. To develop and test a software, computer programming languages must be applied. Here are some basic computer programming skills: HTML, Java, Operating systems, UI/UX\ and Python
  • Graphic design: Creation of graphic content applied in other IT skills. This can be done through photography,illustrations or typography. These skills include: Illustration software, photoshop, design software, desktop publishing, and video creation softwares.

Other IT skills include Communication tools, Database management, Accounting software etc.

Business Development Skills

Business development is pursuing particular opportunities for a business or organisation. This is done by cultivating partnerships or commercial relationships. It deals with the identification of long-term methods to increase value. The main responsibility of a business developer is growing a business. 

While many business development roles require a degree, it depends on the company and position. Generally,an experience in sales, marketing or business management. Certain skills are also vital to your success in this field, including those in sales, communication, negotiation, marketing, data analysis and project management, and business intelligence skills. Developing any of these skills set, you can increase your chances of success in the field of business development.

Firms and startups that are springing up post-COVID will create a demand for these skills, thereby employing candidates with them. 

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