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10 skills that really matter in the new normal

By SONYA HOOJA
September 16, 2020 12:54 IST
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Tech-driven skills will be in demand in the post pandemic era, alerts Sonya Hooja, COO and co-founder, Imarticus Learning.

10 skills that matter in the new normal

IMAGE: Professionals who display a knack for seeking out relevant market data that will help the business grow are considered an asset to the company. Photograph: Kind courtesy Pexels.com

Upskilling and reskilling India's workforce has been a key topic of conversation in recent times, and with good reason.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that India is staring at a 29 million skill deficit by 2030 if the current and future workforce doesn't hone its skills to stay updated.

Accenture projected that the skill gap in India would result in a GDP loss of $1.97 trillion highlighting the urgent need for upskilling and reskilling of professionals across the country.

The pandemic has resulted in over 120 million jobs being lost and it appears that the 'new normal' is likely to stay for the distant future, making it imperative for the current and future workforce to upskill themselves to improve job security.

Here are 10 skills to acquire/polish to retain your job in the 'new normal':

1. Communication

A major part of the 'new normal' includes remote working.

Businesses across verticals, aside from those classified as essential services, are encouraging employees to work from their homes, and this calls for efficient and effective communication skills.

Often overlooked, communication and other soft skills such as critical thinking are essential to help individuals develop holistically and achieve quicker progress in their careers.

Lack of proper communication skills can lead to unforeseen expenses, deadline violations, and can hamper one's career growth significantly.

2. Troubleshooting

Every individual is bound to have come across certain roadblocks throughout their career.

This is where their problem solving or troubleshooting skills come into the picture.

The ability to handle unexpected or challenging scenarios are some traits that employers are constantly on the lookout for.

Regardless of the industry, problem solving skills are important to find effective solutions to the existing issue.

Troubleshooting will not only prove useful at the workplace, but can also be considered as an essential life skill.

3. Research skills

Information is wealth.

A candidate's research skills form a crucial part of the core non-technical skills that are required for any business.

However, research skills are not merely scouting for information online, but include the unique ability to seek out high-quality valuable information amidst the abundant data available on the Internet today.

Market research forms the crux of every business. Professionals who display a knack for seeking out relevant market data that will help the business grow are considered an asset to the company.

4. Project management

Project management is the sum total of various skills including communication, organisation, adaptability, people management, leadership, and the ability to handle work pressure.

These skills are not necessarily taught in a classroom, but rather one that an individual develops through practice and experience.

Consistent practice and volunteering to engage in workplace events regularly are one way to hone your skills.

5. Proficiency in Microsoft Office

It is a no-brainer that today almost every function of every business has been digitised, and Microsoft Office has become a fundamental part of businesses across the globe.

The tool has become intertwined in day-to-day office tasks at all levels -- be it an entry-level job or at the C-suite level.

Simply learning the basics of Microsoft Office will no longer suffice as it has become a sought-after skill.

Companies prefer those who are well-versed in every aspect of Microsoft Office.

6. Proficiency in Google Suite

Similar to Microsoft Office, Google Suite has also become a basic part of the workplace for any job.

With Google Slides, Docs, and even analytics, Google Suite certifications let the employer know that you possess the required digital skills to work collaboratively in a professional environment while being highly productive.

7. Familiarity with AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), and Cloud Computing

As technology evolved, AI, ML, and Cloud became a base for it to flourish and progress further.

Constituting a significant part of our lives in almost every aspect -- right from navigation systems to entertainment and food delivery, we rely on these new age technologies for various everyday activities.

At the workplace too, Cloud Computing, AI, and ML have turned into the cornerstone, especially in the post-pandemic world where technology has allowed us to resume business as usual.

Honing these skills or even gaining a basic understanding of them will enable you to become an indispensable resource for the company.

8. Understanding and navigating common operating systems/software

In a world where computers and technology take centre stage, the ability to understand and navigate through common operating systems such as Windows or MacOS is a basic and vital skill.

Understanding operating systems and software is now classified as a rudimentary computer skill required to perform any function at the workplace since they support and manage the computers'; basic functions.

9. MIS (Management Information Systems) Proficiency

A collection of people, procedures, data, and information technology, MIS, like common operating systems, is elemental and lays the foundation for you to learn other more advanced computer-related skills.

MIS skills also help in strategic thinking and improve the grasping capability of an individual as they become more proficient with time and continuous practice.

10. Financial/Budget management skills

Often referred to as one of the cruxes of life skills, financial skills are a combination of both hard and soft skills and budgeting plays an instrumental role in helping people manage their finance efficiently.

Developing budgeting skills will also help you to navigate the complex world of money management with ease and reach your financial goals.

Even at the workplace, a certain level of financial skills is required to manage any unexpected event and understand your organisation's finances.

All of the above-mentioned skills are a necessary part of skillsets that professionals should acquire to secure their jobs.

Given the current scenario, technology is at the base of almost all functions, and comprehending such skills will further quicken career progress.

However, some of these skills are acquired rather than taught. It is only by sheer practice, you can master these skills in a short period.

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