Employers: adaptive skills more critical to business viability

Photo by Anna Shvets

Since the start of the pandemic, workforce competencies have had to evolve, resulting in the increasing importance for adaptive skills in the workplace.

In particular, more employers say that Effective Communication is key to business viability, making it the increasingly most sought-after skill (voted by 68% in 2021 vs 48% in 2020). This is one of the key findings in the recent NTUC LearningHub‘s Employer Skills Survey report.

The survey, which was conducted in February 2021 with business leaders across Singapore, aimed to uncover the most in-demand skillsets a year after the pandemic. The findings include the top skills by industry cluster: Built Environment, Essential Domestic Services, Lifestyle, Manufacturing and Professional Services, and Trade and Connectivity.

As the job market evolves to adapt to the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, more employers require workers to possess both adaptive and digital skills that enable them to work remotely in new environments.

Effective Communication, an adaptive skill that helps close information gaps in times of uncertainty, establish clear expectations, and align purpose among employees, has become increasingly important in industries including Manufacturing (74%), Essential Domestic Services (71%), and Lifestyle (50%).

Overall, while digital skills were voted by many employers, adaptive skills have topped the list of competencies which are business imperatives while having increased in importance. Teamwork is the second most important skill (55% in 2021 vs 52% in 2020), followed by Leadership (53% in 2021 vs 45% in 2020), Negotiation and Influencing skills (51% in 2021 vs 46% in 2020) and Digital Marketing (50% in 2021 vs 44% in 2020).

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LHUB’s Chairman Eugene Wong, says, “As businesses adapt new modes of working, effective communication is crucial for companies to relay new systems and ways of doing businesses amongst their workforce.

“Teamwork and decisive leadership are also key to navigating the new world order. In addition, as companies push for digitalisation to attract and retain consumers online, digital marketing remains a top skill. To future-proof a company’s viability as well as one’s employability, it is imperative to possess a hybrid set of coveted adaptive and digital skills.”

“COVID-19 continues to leave an indelible mark on the economy and jobs at large. To keep viable, many companies which have been pandemic-stricken have had to pivot business models and find new revenue streams.

“The workforce competencies required to support new ways of doing business therefore have to evolve and workers could stand to benefit from identifying these sought-after skills and upskill themselves where necessary,” he adds.