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Checklist: in-demand skills for a new era of work – how many can you tick off?

By Gaelle Blake, Director, Hays Permanent Appointments, UK and Ireland



There is much we don’t know about what the world will look like once we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, nor exactly when this will be.

What we do know is that we are now entering a new era of work, one that most likely involves hybrid ways of working and managing teams. With this comes a renewed focus by employers on certain technical and soft skills.

Here are four skills that are in high demand in this new era:

Data literacy

The importance of accurate, insightful data is a critical asset to organisations today. With good data analysis, companies are better able to predict areas of decreasing and increasing demand - therefore ensuring businesses can adapt their product and service offerings to meet evolving customer needs.

Data-literate professionals will be particularly critical to employers as we navigate a new era of work, and honing your proficiency in the following areas will be a great place to start:

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle’s Analytics Academy offer free classes to help your understanding of how to track and analyze website traffic.
  • Microsoft Excel – perhaps sounds an obvious one, but a crucial tool for recording and analyzing data. Udemy offer some free courses.
  • Data visualization – Being able to turn data into visual stories is the key to making information both understandable and digestible. Udemy also offers an introduction to data visualization.

Web development & coding

If digital transformation was happening at top speed before, the coronavirus crisis has only accelerated the pace. With entire organisations having to transition entirely online and extremely agile, reactive ways of working being a prerequisite as we push forward into a new world of work, skills including coding and web development will increasingly be taking the spotlight. 

If you do want an introduction to coding or are looking to polish up your skills, Codecademy is an excellent place to start, providing lots of free courses. There are a host of coding languages to learn, so here are just a few you can’t go wrong with:

  • HTML – used for front end web development, HTML is a crucial foundational web skill that determines the basic structure of a web page – when you access a site, your browser reads HTML content and translates it into the web page you see.
  • CSS – HTML’s sister coding language determines the style of a webpage, for example fonts, colours and layouts.
  • Javascript – also used for front end web development, this coding language helps bring static web pages to life with dynamic content such as animated graphics.
  • Python – a back end web development language, this is used for varying types of programming besides web development, and can be used to develop mobile apps and desktop apps as well as process big data.

Adaptability & flexibility

One thing is for certain, we are moving into a rapidly evolving world of work – one that will involve new practices and different ways of collaborating with each other. Obvious as it might sound, the ability to integrate quickly and adeptly into this new era will be fundamental, as well as a willingness to improve existing skills or acquire new ones where needed.

Many elements of workforce practice, including communication, management and strategy will need to adapt, and those who demonstrate open-mindedness and willingness to embrace the ‘new’ will be best placed to succeed.

Emotional intelligence

It is somewhat ironic that for all the preparation, research and insight into the big ‘shifts’ revolutionizing the world of work, for example the rise of artificial intelligence and automation technology, none of us could have predicted the coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent effect on all our lives.

If we can take anything positive from this, it is the increased spotlight placed on the importance of compassion and empathy as working traits. Being able to understand how people are feeling in the light of difficult situations and tailor your response accordingly will inspire a reciprocal understanding as well as loyalty in others. If you aspire to be a future leader in this new era of work, this quality will be invaluable.

If you’re considering your next step, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about the career options available to you, or to access a host of resources for helping you adapt to the new way of working, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub. As your lifelong career partner, we are with you every step of the way and will be updating this site regularly with new guides, blogs and information to support you.

About this author

Gaelle joined Hays in 1999, and in her time with the business, she has led dedicated teams providing expert recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. In 2018, Gaelle started her current role as UK&I Director of Hays Permanent Appointments, where she works with 800 Permanent Appointments consultants across the UK and Ireland. She helps organisations to find the talent they need to achieve their goals, and help customers to find the roles they need to move their careers forwards. In July 2020, Gaelle was also appointed as UKI Director of Hays Construction & Property, leading the 300+ recruitment consultants in the largest specialist Construction & Property recruiter in the UK.

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