What Skills Are Organizations Looking For In 2020?

Global Employability

As the job market constantly evolves, the demand for new skills and competencies follows fast. We are standing at the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. And, if history has taught us anything, it’s that the jobs coming in the next few years are the ones that don’t even exist yet. The rapidly evolving technology and automation industry combined with the effects of a global pandemic will pave path for new and improved skills that go beyond the need for physical human interaction.

Along with changing skills, unemployment rates have been on a steady decline. For any job seeker, this means differentiating in a pool of applicants themselves by acquiring in-demand skills. It is now, more important than ever to think beyond your degree and major – because, as they say – companies are not looking for degrees, they are looking for people to work for them.

According to the 2019 Linked Global Talent Report, (Figure A), 91% of recruiters say that an applicant’s soft skills can put them on top of the list of potential hires. Having said that, mastering key hard skills can also add greatly to your overall profile.

Figure A: The 4 trends transforming your workplace. Global Talents Report (LinkedIn, 2019).
Source: https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2019/global-recruiting-trends-2019

If you’re not in the mood to let 2020 create social distance between you and your dream job, brush up on these skills and competencies to set yourself apart among your competitors.

The hard and soft of it

Turns out you need the perfect mix – your hard skills are needed to get the job done, and the soft ones to enable the process.

Source: https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2020/most-in-demand-hard-and-soft-skills

Soft Skills


Companies and recruit managers are on the lookout for people who can display creativity in terms of ideas, execution and problem-solving. In today’s world, where information of all kinds is just a click away, being able to produce novel and fresh ideas is truly commendable. Particularly, the last few months have forced businesses to re-evaluate business practices and become creative to keep up with the times. A great example is how many restaurants and cafes are offering DIY kits instead of cooked dishes, to minimize risk of infection and increase sales.

Creativity can be displayed in the way one has approached and solved problems in their life. This can range from approaching personal problems and obstacles in one’s life to exhibiting creative problem solving in the academic or professional realm.

Emotional Intelligence

The rising awareness about mental health has called for this recent addition to in-demand soft skills. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand your own, as well as the emotions of those around you. It ensures healthy inter-personal relationships, which is important for a conducive working environment for their employees.

Developing emotional intelligence is not as simple as reading a book and taking an exam. One needs to make a conscious effort to be emotionally intelligent. Some of the skills that help you become emotionally intelligent are practicing self-awareness, listening to others effectively, recognizing their emotions and responding effectively.


One day, you were picking up a Starbucks and heading to office. The next, you’re learning how to use Zoom and asking people if they can hear you.

Environments, technologies are constantly changing. Companies value the flexibility of their employees in terms of learning and acquiring new skills to keep up with the times. In light of the recent pandemic, there is widespread expectation that work from home options for employees will increase significantly, even after things return to normal. This will call for various online etiquette skills which will include the proper and efficient online display of creativity, collaboration and respect. The last few months have renewed the importance of this skill.

Collaboration and Communication

While individual competence is great and necessary, the ability to collaborate and work in a team is equally important. Most projects today are a combination of various technologies and skill sets and call on your ability to work in a team to get the job done. Consequently, good communication skills are key to effective collaboration. And while the two have been important skills, the way they are exercised will change greatly in the coming future. The typical meeting room, coffee shop meeting has been replaced by a new platform where it’s never hard to find a table; Zoom. Effective communication and collaboration through online mediums will gain importance since remote working will become the new normal.

These skills are not only evergreen, but are are also transferable and adaptable across a variety of industries.

The not-so-soft skills

With fast developing technology, the demand for new hard skills is changing and shifting constantly. The following skills mentioned here are those which are expected to have maximum relevance in the coming years.

Hard Skills

Data Analysis

Data is being called the ‘fuel’ of the industrial revolution. Individuals with skills to modify and draw conclusions from it are in high demand because of its widespread application. Data Analysis is used almost everywhere – in business decisions, marketing, supply chain management etc.

In today’s day and age, everyone must have a basic understanding of data analysis –whether it’s through software like Tableau and SPSS or more sophisticated ones like SQL. This high-demand skill can definitely take your resume the extra mile in a pool of applicants.


Blockchain’s fresh way of storing, verifying and authorizing data has left the world shook and opened up several opportunities. With its first use in 2009 with cryptocurrencies, it has gained widespread interest from all around the world and is set to be one of the biggest industries in the coming decade. Professionals who are equipped in this skill are in high demand.

Affiliate Marketing

In today’s world, no business can survive without good marketing. As traditional marketing methods become outdated, social media marketing and search engine optimization have risen quickly to the top to identify and cater to consumer preferences. Individuals with good understanding of these – their use and engagement analysis are of great value to companies.

This skill has a lot of teaching avenues out there. In the form of a degree or in a few online courses, you can acquaint yourself with the fundamentals and understand how affiliate marketing is done to optimize business.

Scientific Computing

People skilled in scientific computing are great assets to the company. This specialized skill helps to solve problems with the help of algorithms, computational models etc. They also aid in optimizing hardware and software solutions for the company. Individuals who can use these models to solve large data management problems are in high demand.

One of the most widespread available degrees across universities is one in Computer Science. But if that’s not your thing, use the isolation time to take beginner level online courses in some of the leading languages like Python and Java. This will help boost the value of your resume significantly, especially if you intend to work in the IT Space.

It would be a good use of your time to upskill – enroll in online courses to master these hard skills so you can stay on top of the employability-skills game.

Written by Amrita Chopra
Amrita is a Year III student at the University of Hong Kong double majoring in Psychology and Marketing. She hails from New Delhi, India. When she’s not studying Freud and the 4Ps, she’s playing the piano or cooking something she learnt from YouTube!

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