Jun 24, 2020 01:00 AM EDT

Job hunting in the 2020s: 10 essential skills that will land you high-paying jobs

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Everybody is talking about professional development these days. In fact, it seems that 87% of Millennials rate professional development and career growth opportunities as "very important" for them. Plus, 72% of employees even consider financially contributing to their own training. 

But, when you hear about professional development, is it clear what to focus on? Should you attend a communications training? Should you follow a social media marketing course? Or should you gain some tech skills on a coding Bootcamp? In other words, what should you do to help you achieve the skills every employer wants to see in the ideal candidate? 

While you may be confused about which path you should follow for career development, a recent survey from the World Economic Forum seems to have all the answers. 

"Skills demands are changing at a very rapid pace. So, even if a company is clear about what it requires now, by the end of this year, the HR professionals may be looking for something completely different.", as this site for part-time jobs mentions. But some essential skills can help you succeed in a rapidly changing work environment according to the WEF's survey. 

The survey implied 350 executives from 9 different industries in 15 of the biggest economies around the globe. The report's purpose was to determine the impact of technological advancement on the labor market, including how it will impact employers and what will those look for in employees. 

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/6dW3xyQvcYE

Let's find out the ten skills that will keep you competitive in today's and tomorrow's labor market. 

  • Cognitive flexibility

In general, cognitive flexibility represents the ability to adjust one's thinking from an old situation to a new one in no time. Cognitive flexibility implies using creativity, logical reasoning, and problem sensitivity to overcome responses or thinking that are habitual and adapt quickly to new situations. 

What cognitive flexibility would look like in the office? It can be, for example, an employee's ability to disengage from one task and respond to another fast. Or, it can also mean being able to adapt to how you communicate based on who you are talking with. 

In customer service, for example, this would be a highly-important skill to have. 

  • Negotiation skills

Having negotiation skills actually means having a set of abilities such as communication skills, persuasion, planning, strategizing, and cooperating. Thus, employees with strong negotiation skills are considered essential assets in an organization. 

According to WEF's report, negotiation skills will be in especially high demand in jobs related to computer and math, such as data analysis or software development, and arts and design. 

  • Service orientation

With customer experience gaining momentum in the business landscape, it's no surprise that service orientation skills are in high demand today and in the future. 

Service orientation skills translate into actively seeking ways to help others, be it those on your team, your supervisors, or customers. It implies showing willingness and positive attitudes towards responding to other's problems in a way that meets their needs, requirements, and expectations.  

  • Judgment and decision-making

In a data-driven world, companies face a much more significant amount of new data daily, which means they need more people to analyze it and make smart decisions. 

Good judgment also means having the ability to make a good decision or form an opinion which you share with your colleagues or superiors even if it might not make you popular among them.  

  • Emotional intelligence

There's only one drawback about robots: they aren't humans and can't read people the way humans can. Well, at least not yet. 

So, soft skills or people skills are still essential for employers. Active listening, collaboration, interpersonal skills, empathy, mentoring, and coaching are all skills that will be in demand in transforming workplaces where robots increasingly surround employees. 

  • Coordinating with others

You can think of this skill as "culture fit", which has become increasingly crucial in recruitment trends, as mentioned by the employment specialist from Careerlink. 

Companies want to hire employees who fit well in their already existing teams because this results in increased productivity. Thus, employers will be looking for candidates who can collaborate and adjust to already existing team members. 

  • People management

People management pretty much involves everything that a manager should be, including a leader, a friend, a motivator, and a trainer to their teams. 

Every company has or should have a leader who can motivate those around them, help them develop professionally and personally, and choose the best suitable people for a specific job. 

  • Creativity

If there's one thing that robots can do yet that is being creative. Creativity remains an important skill to have, no matter the sector, because it means many things, including building on ideas or developing old ones.  

In a digitally-driven business landscape, employers will want employees who can use their creativity to apply tech to new products and services. 

  • Critical thinking

In general, critical thinking can mean a lot of abilities, including observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, problem-solving, and decision-making. And, in a work environment where technology is increasingly integrated, employers need people who can employ logic and direct machines ethically and optimally. 

Critical minds are and will continue to be in high demand because those are the employees who can identify the optimal uses of technology. 

  • Complex problem-solving

Today's work environment is fast-changing, mostly because of technological advancement. But these rapid changes can mean both making things easier and more complicated. For example, artificial intelligence can collect data to help make things more efficient in a company. But, without a human mind to consider all the variables that a robot could never spot, the results will most likely be inaccurate. 

Technology advancement in the work environment is far from meaning robots taking over the world. But it does mean that there will be a rise in demand for the very things that make employees humans. 

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