The Most In-Demand Skills of 2021

If you're a hiring manager, you're probably wondering what the hiring and employment landscape is going to look like once the dust of the pandemic settles. And it will settle. A vaccine is on the horizon, and by the time spring and summer roll around again, this country will be returning to normalcy … although nobody quite knows what that "normal" will be.

When we look ahead to 2021, we see two trends. Remote work and skills. And, like much in life, the two are intertwined.

Remote work and skills: Two trends that are here to stay

Pundits are predicting, with as much certainty as can be had at this point, that remote work isn't going away anytime soon. Even when it's completely safe to open offices again, working at home will be more prevalent than ever before. A big reason for that lies in the preferences of millennials, the largest cohort in the workplace (nearly 56 million) and, according to some, the most particular about their work environment.

Recent research by Gallup found that millennials don't see much difference between their jobs and their lives, are the least engaged workers in the workforce, and have the lowest rates of wellbeing. All of that changed when the pandemic hit and everyone started working from home. According to Gallup, "The workplace suddenly offered all the flexibility and potential for work-life balance millennials ever wanted. In one fell swoop, business conformed itself to the millennial way." In short, Gallup found millennials are flourishing in our "new normal," are more engaged, and have more well being than ever before. Do employers want to change all of that by ordering their ranks back into the office? We don't think so.

That brings us to skills. Skills-based hiring was on the rise even before the pandemic, and it's even more relevant and prevalent now, for a variety of reasons. A whole generation is wondering why they're paying for pricey four-year degrees when campus life is at a standstill. Going forward, many job candidates will be armed with two-year degrees and a portfolio of verifiable skills that qualify them for positions of their choice. Employers need to be ready for that.

But the rise of skills-based hiring isn't limited to this new generation. It's about employer preference and needs. People were already realigning their workplace job requirements to skills rather than simply education, but now it's even more important to do so. Because of the new normal of remote work, employers need the assurance that not only new employees but current employees have the skills to do the job. This is the era of independent work, with no manager looking over people's shoulders every minute of the day to make sure that work is being done right. It's not a "nice to have" anymore. It's a must. Managers need to know and trust that people can do the job whether they're in the job or at home, period. Verifiable skills via digital credentials are a must, now more than ever.

Skills in demand for 2021

All of this talk about skills-based hiring got us thinking about which skills will be most in demand for 2021. We turned to Indeed, the online jobs giant, to get their take on it. In November 2020, Indeed identified both hard and soft skills that will be in demand in a post-COVID world. Here are a few:

  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Sales leadership
  • Analysis
  • People management
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Video and audio production

All of these skills don't pertain to every workplace, but this list gives a glimpse into a good cross-section of in-demand skills. It's a mix of technical skills as well as the soft skills necessary for working at home, including adaptability, time management, creativity, and collaboration. We'd add communication to that list, along with fluency in collaboration technology, like Zoom.

As a hiring manager, you need to know the new employees coming through the door, and the ones who are already on your payroll, have the skills that your 2021 workplace needs. There is no better way to get that assurance than with verifiable, digital credentials.

If you'd like to find out more, contact us. It's our specialty.

By Patricia Diaz