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5 Top Skills to Stay Ahead in a Covid Job Market

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National and international work landscapes have changed dramatically since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Waves of quarantines and social distancing measures have forced employees to stay at home for their safety, completely changing the way much of business operates. 

It’s also sped up the already increasing phenomenon of automation in the job market. Already a consistent trend since the 1990s, the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the rate at which technology is being integrated into the workforce. 

According to the World Economic Forum, “More than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitise work processes and deploy new technologies; and 50% of employers are expecting to accelerate the automation of some roles in their companies.” In fact, by 2025, it is predicted that employers will divide work between human and machines equally.

With these shifts in mind, how do you stay relevant and desired by employers in these changing times? You can develop certain skills to make you stand out and stay ahead in the job market. Let’s dive into what these top skills employers look for are.

top skills employers look for


A Global Shift in the Top Skills Employers Look For

The sudden leap forward in integrated technology means that employers will increasingly seek professionals with specific skill sets. The value for rote skills and task-related abilities will be overshadowed by “soft skills” in areas such as management, decision-making, and communication. 

A recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers demonstrated that the top skills employers look for include Critical Thinking/Problem Solving (99.2%), Teamwork/Collaboration (97.5%), and Oral/Written Communication (95.9%).

By identifying and improving upon these skills, those in their early and mid-career can optimise their competitiveness in an increasingly international job market. 

Below is a list of the 5 top skills to stay ahead in today’s Covid job market:

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is valued as one of the most important skills sought after by organisations. It refers to a professional’s ability to assess a situation, analyse potential outcomes, and brainstorm a solution independently. 

An employee’s ability to think critically in a working environment is essential to both their own success and that of the company. Employers are seeking staff who can autonomously confront and resolve challenges and problems brought up in an increasingly complex working environment. Questioning pre-held conceptions, thoroughly researching a given topic, and identifying alternative perspectives to an argument are all good ways to improve critical thinking skills. 


As online and hybrid working models continue to become more commonplace, strong communication skills become increasingly necessary to maintain workflow. 

In virtually all job sectors, employers value team members who are able to successfully understand assignments and tasks given, then efficiently communicate them to clients, co-workers, and external departments. 

Communication skills employers look for include verbal, written, and listening abilities. Jobs that emphasise excellent communication skills include marketing, sales, management, and mediation.

Multicultural Fluency

Cultural fluency is defined as the “understanding and use of elements from different cultures for the purpose of communication. It enables the communicator to convey meaning across cultures, and the receiver to understand messages as they are intended.” 

An employee who can navigate differing cultural scenarios and adapt their work style accordingly is invaluable to multinational organisations. 


The ability to learn new techniques and adapt to new environments has always been a highly desired trait by employers. Quantum leaps in technology and connectivity are causing rapid changes across all areas of personal and professional life, and modern employees are expected to keep up. 

Having a high capacity to adapt to varying work situations, tools, and environments can separate competitive candidates from their competitors, and show hiring managers a readiness to learn and change, which is fundamental in the modern working environment.


Employees who can regulate themselves and their workflow have high self-management capabilities. These skills are invaluable to employers, as complex and ever-changing environments draw their attention away from daily tasks to larger issues. Employers want to be able to trust their employees to complete projects without having to be managed and directed constantly. 

Some indicators of self-management skills include:

  • Time management: Prioritizing the appropriate tasks and completing projects by or before their deadline
  • Reliability: Consistently delivering complete, comprehensive and correct results on assigned work
  • Emotional regulation: Ability to handle high-stress situations and problems in a calm and collected way


Improving on Top Skills To Stay Ahead

By self-assessing their current abilities and comparing them to the top skills employers look for, potential candidates can identify their strengths and pinpoint their weaknesses. Once these have been established, a candidate can work on both improving and showcasing said skills. 

For example, one of the best ways to improve cultural fluency is unequivocally through exposure and integration into differing environments. More than 20 nationalities are currently represented within our Online Masters of Science. Students come from very diverse professional backgrounds and are based all over the world, ensuring them continuous exposure to a vast array of different customs, cultures, and practices. 

Ultimately, an individual candidate who is invested in demonstrating the top skills employers look for will present a more complete, more competitive candidate profile for a Covid job market.