Banner: 10 Skills You Need That Are Lacking in the Job Market Today.

10 Skills You Need That Are Lacking in the Job Market Today

Both employers and students report that skills gaps are widening in the Canadian workforce. But which skills are lacking the most, and which are the most essential to  the workforce?

Here’s a top 10 of the most in-demand skills you need that are lacking in the workforce today, as recommended by HR and career development professionals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Photo: collaboration

1. Specialized digital skills

While ‘digital skills’ can refer to wide range of abilities, specialized digital skills pertain to specific industries and roles.

Almost every industry requires, to some degree, digital skills for marketing, sales, product development, manufacturing, and e-commerce.

According to Accenture and the World Economic Forum, Python coding, SEO, data analytics, graphic design, and video production are the most in-demand specializations within these departments.

Photo: professional at laptop.

2. Digital literacy

Computers are an essential part of the workplace—in today’s world, wouldn’t it be odd to walk into an office and see no computers around? Because most workplaces have gone digital, today’s workers need strong digital literacy.

British Columbia’s Digital Literacy Framework tactfully defines digital literacy as, “the interest, attitude and ability of individuals to use digital technology and communication tools appropriately to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and create and communicate with others.”

Essentially, to be digitally literate is to understand technology enough to effectively use it for a variety of communicative, informative, research, and productive purposes.

Photo: team collaborating.

3. Creativity

In LinkedIn‘s 2020 report on in-demand skills, the number one soft skill was creativity.

Soft skills form an especially large part of today’s skills gap. One survey in the US revealed that 89% of business executives believe that more training would help bridge the soft skills gaps in the workplace. Work-integrated learning, or learning on the job, is proven to be an effective way to build creativity.

Photo: student writing in notebook.

4. Written communication

PayScale reported that one of the top three lacking skills in the workforce today is written communication. 56% of employers globally find that communication, written and verbal, is the single most valued “human strength.”

According to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), writing is one of the essential skills most needed but most lacking in today’s workforce.

A variety of sources cite communication as a top skill overall, not just as a soft skill. Despite this, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that professional writing skills, like the ability to write work emails clearly and efficiently, continues to be under-taught by educators and thus underrepresented in college grads entering the workforce.

Photo: professionals collaborating.

5. Verbal communication

Across multiple sources and studies, general communication skills are widely desired and lacking in the workforce.

Verbal communication pertains to the everyday workplace communication between employees and company leadership, like the ability to communicate ideas to colleagues when working collaboratively and effectively.

Banner: professional delivering presentation.

6. Public speaking

Public speaking is an incredibly common phobia — in fact, 90% of workers report dreading it. As a result, public speaking skills are lacking in most workplaces, and so are in high demand.

Work-integrated learning has shown to be an effective method of improving communication skills as well as confidence, two key characteristics of a successful public speaker.

Photo: data analysis.

7. Data analysis

Another skill that is essential yet lacking in today’s workforce is data analysis.

Data analysis is a skill now associated with digital skills, as many data analysis programs exist now to assist with organizing, managing, and analyzing data.

Still, there is a need for human intervention in data analysis, because while an automated machine can memorize facts and make conclusions based on massive amounts of data, only a person can analyze data from a human perspective.

Often, data pertains heavily to human behaviour, like in marketing analytics, where only a person can deeply understand human emotion and correlated behaviour.

Photo: team collaborating.

8. Collaboration

Like other soft skills, collaboration is highly valued, in demand, and lacking in the workforce.

56% of employers globally agree collaboration is one of the most valued human strengths and, subsequently, is essential to bridge the skills gaps. Collaboration is emphasized as an important skill because most workplaces involve working with others to some degree.

What do collaboration skills look like? Collaboration involves strong communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, team project management, open-mindedness, and more.

These qualities prepare workers for collaboration experiences in which they may face disagreements within the group or a general mismatch between the team members, which results in less productivity. As such, collaboration is something essential that employers are looking for and struggling to find.

Illustration: brainstorming.

9. Critical thinking

Following collaboration is critical thinking, another essential in-demand skill today.

Critical thinking involves the ability to observe, analyze, and make informed, original conclusions about a concept, idea, situation, or environment. Critical thinking is a skill that can be nurtured with work-integrated learning opportunities.

Companies can implement internal talent development programs that challenge employees’ critical thinking skills to improve on them in a practical work environment. This practical learning is significant and effective because it takes into account the real-life workplace realities.

Photo: team brainstorming in office.

10. Problem-solving

Lastly, global studies reveal the value of problem-solving in the workplace and across a broad range of industries. Employers need employees who can problem-solve difficult or unexpected problems that arise in the workplace.

Problem-solvers can tackle issues head-on and in a calm, confident manner, get a job done, and ensure the company’s success.

Evidently, there are a variety of skills lacking in today’s workforce, creating skills gaps that challenge employers with the recruitment of skilled talent.

As such, employers should invest in internal talent development. Doing so could encourage a growth mindset among employees, inspiring them to expand on their future-proof skill set and reach new heights of their potential.

Dayna Lang