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The skills needed in 2021

Published: Thursday 24th December 2020

Two men talking about the skills needed for 2021

As 2020 comes to a close and we all try to move on from this roller coaster of a year, 2021 will begin to pose some unique challenges. With companies likely to ramp up hiring in 2021 after the end of the second wave of Covid-19 and widespread vaccinations, it’s important for job seekers to brush up on some skills that they may need for the economy of tomorrow. Here are some of the skills needed in 2021.

Data literacy

As you may already know, the economy is digitizing at an exponential rate. This was already occurring before the pandemic, but Covid-19 but this transition into overdrive. Most companies are digitizing their processes, so it makes sense for lots of workers to have as many digital skills as possible. This could mean updating your basic digital literacy or getting experience in software and programs directly related to your field. 

Even better will be an ability to work with data sets. Research from The Data Literacy Project has shown that most workers do not feel comfortable working with data. Having these skills would really set you apart from the pack.

Interpersonal communication

Man talking to people over a digital conference call

Covid-19 produced an explosion in remote working. This was to protect people’s health and stop the spread of the virus. However, this has renewed an interest in remote working for many roles. 

Many office jobs these days can be done remotely – there is often little need to physically go into an office. Many companies are now considering making remote working arrangements permanent in order to give workers more flexible working arrangements.

In order to survive in remote working arrangements as part of a team, it is vital to become adept at the many forms of digital communication to build your interpersonal skills. Mastering your use of programs like Zoom, Teams, and Slack will help you thrive in the workplace of 2021. This can be particularly important for customer service roles that have largely moved online. 

Paying unique attention to the things you say and write to people will always help you build better impressions and relationships with other people. 

Flexibility and resilience

2021 will mean big changes. The year could have aspects of 2019 to it, but there could also be some continuing aspects of 2020 that linger on. The name of the game for a lot of job seekers will be a certain level of uncertainty. 

It will be important to hiring managers that you have the ability to be resilient in the face of uncertainty. The World Economic Forum said that cognitive flexibility in adapting to new roles and challenges will be one of the most prized skills in future job applicants. Flexibility and resilience will be one of the main skills needed in 2021.

Critical thinking

No matter if you work in sales, medicine, agriculture, or the arts, everyone needs to be able to assess a problem or situation and be able to come up with appropriate solutions and courses of action. Problem solving abilities will be invaluable to future employers, so much so that it consistently ranks among the top five skills needed by employers in countries all over the world. 

Continuous learning

Young woman doing continuing learning at her laptop

Gone are the days of your education stopping at the end of high school or college. These days, because of the massive shifts occurring in the global economy, people will need to be able to continue developing their skills so that they can meet inevitable changes. Fortunately, there are many online learning platforms that make improving your skills easy, so it should be within the power of most people to upskill when they need to. 


When most people hear the word ‘creativity’, they think of the arts. But there’s more to being creative than making music, writing a novel, or painting. You can be creative writing lines of code or developing a presentation. Indeed, creativity is the most common attribute that leads to successful careers. 

With the creation of ever more new technologies, and as these technologies take over more and more daily functions, there will be a leveling off of companies’ capacity. What will make each company stand out will be how creative they can be in solving their problems. People who are able to master their creativity will be highly prized by future employers. 


These are all the skills we think will be needed in 2021. Check out our other skills blogs for more info for your job search.


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