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Skills to develop over the summer


Are you happy with your current role? Would you like new challenges? These are some of the questions you could be asking yourself this summer. And although August is often associated with holidays, it can be a good time to take stock of your career and think about the goals you want to achieve.

Whether you plan to develop your career with your existing employer or look for new opportunities, in 2023 you will likely need to develop and learn new skills. Upskilling is about developing new skills and competencies to stay relevant in the job market.

Greater adoption of technology means that in-demand skills across jobs will change over the coming years, and skills gaps will continue to rise. With developments in workplace technology, from artificial intelligence (AI) to automation, there has never been a more poignant time to upskill.

Research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that half of us will need to reskill in the next five years. Upskilling enables businesses to address the skills gap created by digitalisation and automation. By upskilling, you can keep abreast of the changing workplace and remain competitive by learning skills that your industry is lacking. Moreover, developing relevant skills for your job will help you increase your productivity and efficiency.

For your next role or promotion, you may need to develop your existing skills. Employers recruiting want to interview candidates with emerging skill sets. Based on the WEF’s jobs report that has identified its top 10 work skills as well as other data and feedback from clients, here are the top five skills you need to secure your next role.

Top five skills you need to secure your next role

1. Critical thinking to solve problems

Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years. Although some people are better at problem-solving and critical thinking, these are often skills that we develop as we evolve through our careers.

Learning problem-solving techniques is useful for all job titles across all industries. The ability to find the cause of a problem and come up with a solution is a skill employers value. Learning the soft skills and critical thinking techniques that problem solvers use can help you overcome complex problems.

2. Leadership skills

Building strong relationships with your colleagues is essential to developing your leadership skills. As you go through your career, you may lead teams or have management roles. Developing leadership skills will enable you to:

  • motivate and inspire your team
  • delegate tasks effectively
  • manage workplace conflict

3. Communication skills

From cloud computing to accountancy, good communication skills are vital in all jobs. Excellent communication skills can make or break an interview or project. Developing strong communication skills enable you to work well as part of a team, lead others, and better serve clients.

4. Digital skills

Even if you don’t work in the tech industry, digital skills are important to all roles and sectors. These skills range from basic digital skills to specialised ones required by IT professionals. It is safe to say that in 2023, regardless of your profession, digital skills are necessary. Some of the most in-demand digital skills today are:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social media skills
  • Programming, web, and app development
  • Digital data
  • Visualisation and design
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Python
  • User experience (CX)
  • Data Science
  • Data Management
  • Data Analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity skills

4. Management skills

All job functions need people with management skills. They are among the top 10 most in-demand skills for business, sales, engineering, IT, project management, and marketing.

How to upskill

Depending on your employer, you might be able to develop your skills through any or all of the following:

  • Mentoring
  • Shadowing
  • Training courses
  • On-the-job-learning
  • Lunch-and-learns

Some employers have learning and development programmes in-house, while other companies may provide support to employees to complete professional courses or attend workshops or conferences. If these aren’t available, your company might provide mentoring or work-shadowing opportunities.

If you are unable to access training and development from your current employer, there are many ways to upskill. Search for free webinars, podcasts, and online events. These are useful because there’s often a recording, so you can tune in when and wherever it's convenient. There are online learning resources from companies including LinkedIn and Google. Short microlearning courses are also popular. And finally, there are lots of books, and online articles available. Look for content that is written by experts in the skill you want to develop.

Finally, successful upskilling can help you when applying for new roles and will also benefit you if you want to progress with your current employer.