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There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has held a monumental impact on virtually every corner of global industry.
With a great portion of Australian businesses closing their doors, downsizing, facing elevated rates of employee turnover of understaffing, and experiencing an unprecedented sense of economic uncertainty, many professionals and corporations alike have been eager to see just how our own industries will bounce back from their many months spent in lengthy lockdowns.
What we may not have expected, however, is how beneficial the lockdowns were for professionals who were eager to upskill.
A large portion of Australia's working population did use their lockdowns to further themselves, enlisting in online courses and even undertaking postgraduate training they may not have otherwise had time for.
Now that lockdowns are lifting across the country, homegrown companies are eager to rebuild, taking full advantage of the impressive talent pool that's become available to them following the pandemic. But what skills are most sought after in this post-lockdown economy?
Managers with contemporary skill sets
Unsurprisingly, master of management courses are amongst some that have experienced strong levels of enrolment in the midst of the pandemic.
The primary reason for this is likely to be that managerial skills-building generally tends to be one of the most popular areas of study amongst professionals looking to upskill.
As undertaking a postgraduate course with a focus on building managerial skills can provide professionals with the edge up that they need when applying for promotions, completing a management course during your months in lockdown is undeniably time well spent.
It's worth noting, however, that the role of the modern manager has also been subject to some transformations due to the pandemic itself. Following the introduction of the working from home and hybrid work models, modern managers are now tasked with managing increasingly complex teams of professionals, ranging from employees who are solely remote to employees who are solely in-house, and virtually everything in between.
Managing remote workers on a fixed term basis is quite different to managing these teams for the foreseeable future, and so modern managers must be equipped with contemporary managerial skills, including but not limited to proficiency with digital communication, recognition of different working and leadership styles, and an understanding on how to navigate remote project management in an manner that doesn't infringe on any individual's right to work independently and take control over their own workload.
Web development and other digital disciplines
The digitalisation of industry was well underway even prior to the global pandemic, but COVID-19 restrictions did absolutely speed up the process of digitalisation to a monumental degree.
Many Australian businesses were rapidly establishing and refining their own digital channels as reliable alternatives to traditionally in-person customer interactions.
Banks refined their digital banking features to accommodate the influx of online shoppers, and even local small businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors established their own web store or online ordering systems to ensure that business could go on as usual by harnessing the power of digital tools.
Established medium to large organisations were hiring web designers and developers to speed up their own digital development projects, and independent ICT specialists and digital developers found themselves with an abundance of employment opportunities, including flexible contract work arrangements.
Jobs in the technology sector have been recognised for being more flexible than employment opportunities in any other industry even prior to the pandemic, and so these fields of study tend to be just as popular as management courses amongst young Australians.
The pandemic did unveil, however, just how crucial tech professionals are to our national economy moving forward.
It was the rapid development of digital channels that allowed homegrown companies to continue trading throughout the pandemic. In times of great economic uncertainty, digitalisation has proven itself to be an unsurpassable asset, as are professionals with digital skills.
Data analysis and interpretation
Of course, with digitalisation and the widespread adoption of digital channels and platforms, modern businesses are increasingly likely to find themselves with an abundance of customer data.
When effectively analysed, this data can be used to improve your company's products or services, as well as finetune your website, mobile apps, and other aspects of your organisation's digital presence.
The fog brought about by months of lockdown is largely combated by the insights that data analysts can grant to homegrown businesses operating in virtually every sector.
Some level of awareness as to how consumer behaviour has changed can allow businesses to make educated decisions regarding their ongoing development, both in the face of the pandemic as well as throughout other similar periods of great economic uncertainty.
Business analysts work alongside AI analytical services and utilise analytical software to interpret and present data sets to company stakeholders, providing their wider organisations with the explanations and answers they need to continue reaching organisational targets.
As business analytics is a discipline that is evolving right alongside web development and other business technologies, this field of study has been forecasted to be highly promising for young Australians who have a passion for mathematics and research.
Analytical skill sets are likely to continue to be highly lucrative both during this digital era and beyond.
Digital communication skills
Finally, the growing popularity of the hybrid work model and organisations increasingly considering international candidates to work remotely over limiting their talent pool to local professionals have all resulted in digital communication skills becoming viewed as highly valuable in our post-COVID economy.
Professionals who demonstrate confidence in their ability to convey information using digital technologies are more likely to be considered over less proficient or tech-illiterate individuals.
It's important to note that conveying information using digital technologies spans a whole lot more than just emailing or instant messaging interactions alone.
Digital communication skills also include being able to create your own graphs, presentations, and reports in various formats.
Economic analysts assert that digital skills are amongst some of the most crucial skills that organisations across the globe will require in order to thrive in a post-lockdown world.
As a result, many educational institutions around the world are introducing digital literacy workshops as well as long and short courses to ensure that young learners and professionals looking to upskill both have access to digital skills-building resources.
The skills outlined above are primed to be some of the most valuable skills in a post-lockdown world, but there are undoubtedly many other skill sets in and around these disciplines that will be just as vital to our globalising economy.
Our global network of professionals is likely to become more connected than ever before as we continue down this path of digitalisation.
Organisations that are ready for this and taking steps to widen their networks now will likely be able to put down fresh, stronger roots in this post-COVID economic climate.