Corona and work: which skills will be needed in 2021

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The corona pandemic has changed the world of work. Jobs were moved home almost overnight. People meet in video conferences instead of going on a long business trip. Corona is seen as a catalyst for mobile work. Even after the crisis, so experts say, home office and flexible working models will continue to play a major role.

The pandemic not only affects how we work – but also what skills we need to bring with us. The “State of Skills” report from the Degreed learning platform examined the effects of the pandemic on the qualifications of workers. 5,000 employees from eight countries were surveyed for this.

Almost two thirds of them believe that the pandemic will make them need new skills. They especially want to improve their skills in technology. But there is also great interest in cognitive and social skills such as creativity or entrepreneurship. Of course, which skills are important also depend on the company, the job position and the employee’s industry. Digital skills are in great demand today – but those who work in sales, for example, only need them at a basic level.

In Germany, the participants in the study primarily want to learn new skills in the areas of leadership, communication and negotiation. And advanced computer and programming skills are also very important to them.

Confidence in one’s own abilities decreases

Although the majority believe that it is important to learn new skills in certain areas, further training offers seem to be reduced. For example, 41 percent of the respondents in Germany stated that their company had reduced the number of advanced training courses in the past six months.

That unsettles the workers. More than half of the respondents in Germany believe that their current skills will be out of date in five years at the latest and more than a third feel less confident in the Corona crisis that they have the skills they need for their work.

This creates several problems. Workers (55 percent) are more stressed because they have less confidence in their skills. The stress also affects productivity and employee performance and can therefore increase costs in the company. Tasks are completed more slowly (41 percent) and the quality deteriorates (22 percent). Almost half of all respondents are considering giving notice if the employer does not want to offer further training.

Above all in the areas of human resources (60 percent), sales (57 percent) and production management (57) percent, the respondents said they were more stressed. In these three areas, most said that their mental health deteriorated under stress.

According to the report, 68 percent of those surveyed in Germany want further training. 63 percent are of the opinion that their employer supports them in this. There seems to be some room for improvement when you consider that lifelong learning is actually an important pillar in modern work culture. The time should be used now to learn new things. Perhaps knowledge has never changed as quickly as it does today.


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