By Jane Lucas
According to the Pew Research Center, the coronavirus outbreak has dramatically transformed the way Americans work. A significant shift in work culture happened as businesses were forced to shut down their offices. Many workers who are now working from home admit that their professional responsibilities can be entirely done remotely. Yet they had never, or only rarely, worked outside of the office before.
As of December 2020, Pew stated that 71% of employed adults in the US were working from home and that 54% would want to carry on working remotely even after the pandemic. However, there is a clear divide between qualifications. Low-income workers are unlikely to benefit from telework. But over 60°% of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree admit that the remote environment has not affected their productivity. Those who can’t telework are required to maintain face-to-face interactions as part of their job. Yet, the shift in work environments also influences new trends in the education sector. Indeed, both professionals and students have faced numerous challenges since the start of the pandemic.
It makes sense that all these challenges would help build the skill set of tomorrow. What does the pandemic teach us about the most valuable skills in tomorrow’s business world? Here are 5 emerging, or already existing skills that will define post-pandemic work.
With over 70% of employees working from home today, it’s fair to say that the trend is likely to remain. Remote work has not only enabled companies to survive despite the health crisis, but it’s also transformed the recruitment process to source new talents. Companies can now more reasonably consider experts who live outside of their geographical radius without worrying about relocation costs. Similarly, experts can also reach out to businesses on a nationwide basis to apply for jobs that match their skills.
But, we can also expect that going forward, remote opportunities will be part of a unique redistribution of skills at a global level. Could an American be employed by a company based in Madrid, even though they live in Florida? The answer could be yes. More and more innovative brands have been willing to seek talents beyond their borders, bringing an international range of assets to the company. Applicants may not be required to speak a foreign language, but it certainly wouldn’t harm their profile to do so. Thankfully, with solutions such as Preply online tutors, it’s getting easier for adults to boost their language skills. Would a specialist based in Florida have better chances to land their dream remote job in Spain if they could demonstrate an understanding of the local language and culture? We think so.
Unfortunately, the move to a digital environment was unplanned for a lot of businesses at the start of the pandemic. Consequently, the remote workplace has been exposed to cybercrimes, with data breaches growing in intensity and frequency during the first months of the pandemic. Large-scale breaches increased by over 270% in the first quarter of 2020, including attacks such as ransomware, and island hopping. Unfortunately, cybercriminals capitalized on the confusion and lack of safety protocols as many businesses had to redesign their processes online overnight. Ransomware, for example, has been up by almost 100%. Japanese carmaker Honda revealed in June 2020 that ransomware forced them to suspend production. Some companies have lost a lot of money through cybercrimes in 2020. It’s fair to say that surviving during the pandemic has been no easy task.
Hopefully businesses have learned the needed lessons when it comes to security. However, hackers are also learning, and work relentlessly to discover new weaknesses. With this understanding and risks, it makes sense to make cybersecurity a critical element of education for the next professionals of tomorrow. Students need to be more aware of the digital risks, especially at a time where more and more online opportunities appear.
Does a professional need to learn how to code? While the answer used to be NO, remote work is changing your approach to business tools. A lot of business tools can be customized through API so that they can report on the data you care about. Even if there’s no API access, you can extract data reporting via Excel to manipulate data and create relevant queries. In other words, businesses that can work with custom information are more likely to stand out from the crowd. And that means that the typical marketing team now needs to learn some basic coding skills. Digital marketers can benefit from learning basic HTML to implement tracking codes and SEO microformats directly into their website backend. SQL queries are a given as there can be no data analysis without Excel data management and data visualization.
It can seem odd to mention DIY skills in connection with the pandemic and education in business. However, DIY projects have played a crucial role during the pandemic. For a start, homeowners have needed to relearn forgotten skills as builders have not been able to deliver on-site services at the peak of the pandemic.
But there’s also been a feel-good reaction that has contributed to the boom of DIY skills and crafting. Beyond immediate repairs, households have managed the challenges of pandemic anxiety and isolation through manual activities. For many, the do-it-yourself approach has also opened a new range of opportunities, encouraging people to start side hustle businesses to promote their crochet creations, woodwork, or upcycling projects. With the rise of craft skills, entrepreneurs can find a new creative path for their solo business.
The startup environment in Florida has suffered a fallback during the pandemic. However, exciting tech projects are resurging to boost the local economy. There is no denying that South Florida has become a hub for technology and innovation. The pandemic challenges are likely to change priorities and encourage entrepreneurs to address their local challenges, such as medical assistance, for example. However, in a post-pandemic environment, innovative tech businesses will need financial literacy to finance their venture safely. Grants and funding are likely to be rare as the local economy recovers from pandemic losses.
The education of the future is, of course, primarily digital. However, the pandemic has transformed priorities, encouraging the professionals of tomorrow to include language knowledge, DIY skills, and financial savviness to build their careers.
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