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Skill Gap 2021: Top 5 Soft + Hard Skills Companies Need Now
April 21, 2021

To prepare for the future of work, employers must address the skills gap. Technology is advancing fast, and workforces are falling behind. There are millions of open positions and millions of people searching for jobs. This massive disconnect between employers and job seekers is a result of the digital transformation. The average position now requires specialized technical experience and skills that most job seekers do not have. 82% of middle-skill jobs now require digital skills to succeed, and this number will only continue to rise [1]. For every tech position left vacant for two months (the average time taken to fill the role), a company will lose about $30,000. This number is despite salary savings [2]. By 2030, the talent shortage and skills gap in the U.S. alone is expected to total a loss of $8.5 trillion [3].  

The skills gap is a top-level concern for most CEOs. 74% of CEOs reported they are "extremely concerned" about the skills gap and the availability of key skills. This percentage is up drastically in recent years. In 2011 only 56% of CEOs felt this way [4]. Companies are moving in a digital direction. The skills gap is already causing issues with adapting to the most basic level of digitalization. Half of all planned cloud migrations, through 2022, will be delayed by at least two years because companies are unable to obtain trained talent capable of these digital skills [5]. Companies desperately need to upskill their current workforce in soft and hard skills to ensure they can stay competitive and prepare for the future of work.  

What are soft skills? Soft skills are your personal skills, outside of the technical skills needed for your specific positions. Well-developed soft skills can be challenging to find in employees. Upskilling is often necessary to maximize the potential of the employee. These skills can include the abilities like excellent communication with others and highly developed leadership capabilities.  

There are many important soft skills for an employee to have, but here are the top 5 employers are looking for in 2021: 

  1. Communication skills 
  1. Creative problem solving and innovation 
  1. Collaboration and teamwork 
  1. Time management 
  1. Conflict management 

Communication skills are fundamental in business. When work shifted to remote, this skill became even more critical to ensure business ran smoothly. Communication can be verbal or written. The critical ability is that the employee can get their point across successfully. This skill is a huge asset when working with clients as well as working in teams. A breakdown in communication can cause disastrous and expensive effects in business [6]. 

Creative problem solving and innovation is another skill set that was put to the test this past year. Having to adapt to remote work and figure out the kinks took immense creative problem solving and innovation. Companies with little to no digital footprint relied heavily on those with the skills to work through problems and figure out the solution to keep the business running. Pandemic aside, this skill set is always crucial in business. Having employees who develop creative and innovative solutions and ideas is how companies grow and advance. A forward thinker is an incredible asset to have as an employee [7]. 

Collaboration and teamwork skills are essential interpersonal skills. Some of the best work is done in collaboration with others. And employees are required to collaborate with a team on innumerable occasions. Employees who can work well as a team often generate incredible results. When employees work well with others, it creates a positive environment and culture at work and is incredibly important for retention and overall satisfaction. Giving advice and taking criticism in a group context is very important to enable personal and professional growth. Employers will want an employee who is capable of teamwork and collaboration [8]. 

Time management is an ever-important soft skill in business. The move to working from home this past year stressed the importance of time management skills. Managing time appropriately and getting assignments completed on time, outside the office environment, is very important to employers relying on employee's self-discipline to meet deadlines. Time management allows projects to get completed on time and with efficiency [9]. 

Conflict management is the final top skill that employers are looking for in 2021. Conflict is natural in business. Being able to negotiate and resolve disagreements effectively is very important in a professional environment. Employees who can adeptly navigate conflicts cultivate a happy workplace. It is a valuable skill for employees to have when working with clients. Having an employee capable of acting professionally and working towards a common goal with an opposing party is necessary for business. Unfortunately, having a cool head in times of conflict is a rare trait and therefore highly valued [10]. 

These five soft skills are highly valued in the workplace and will be the 5 top skills employers are looking for in 2021.  

What are hard skills? Hard skills are skills that are required to complete a job. They are often learned through certifications, schooling, training, upskilling courses, or on-the-job training. As opposed to soft skills, hard skills are not naturally occurring traits. Hard skills are job-specific and vary between occupations.  

The top hard skills that employers are looking for in 2021 are: 

  1. Cloud computing 
  1. Artificial intelligence 
  1. Data analytics 
  1. Digital marketing 
  1. UX design 

Cloud computing refers to the design, delivery, and maintenance of cloud architecture on platforms. This is very important when moving your business online. Advancing technology at a business is also easier when there is a robust digital backbone. Cloud computing can provide this. Cloud computing makes data accessible and enables scalable growth. Companies are scrambling to implement cloud computing, but it is a skill that has a far greater demand than supply. In the next few years, employees with this skill will be vital to preparing the company for the future of work. 

Artificial intelligence is a hard skill that more companies are requiring every day. A.I. is a broad term that refers to a computer or machine's ability to mimic or exceed human-like intelligence. An employee who can program and implement A.I. can be a great asset for a company looking to advance its technology. A.I. is being integrated into new technology constantly to allow for increased automation and efficiency in business. In 2021, A.I. is trending and will be one of the top skills employers desire in job candidates. 

Data analytic skills are critical in business. With advancing technologies comes an extreme amount of data collection. If a company can analyze data about their customers, they can have the information they need to become more successful. A skilled data analyst can also run analytics on the company and its internal processes. Generated insights can inform where bottlenecks are occurring and create transparency in the company. Companies can use these insights to improve the way work is done. A skilled technician at data analytics can provide power in the form of knowledge to a company. 

Digital marketing is a skill that has grown in demand this past year. The world shifted online, and companies that had no digital footprint were left in the dust. An employee with excellent digital marketing skills can help a company grow exponentially and allow a business to continue and reach customers even during a shutdown. Digital marketing skills include knowledge of search engine optimization, which enables a website to be found online. They are also knowledgeable about social media platforms. They can create impactful copy and graphics to generate interest in the company online and proficiently use the systems and programs required to do these digital tasks. Without digital marketing in 2021, a company will struggle to make money online.  

UX design is the last top hard skill that employers are looking for in 2021. UX design refers to the ability to conduct research and design software, products, applications, website, etc. in ways which maximize the user experience. User experience is an incredibly important aspect of any successful business. Consumers will not tolerate a poor user experience online or in-person because they have so many other good options. So, once your company captures a customer's attention, a skillfully crafted user experience is needed to close the deal. Excellent UX skills can make or break a company. In 2021, the experience online for customers is a driving factor of sales, and a website or application that has poor UX is not acceptable. Employers will search out people with this hard skill to ensure they are meeting the needs of their customers. 

These soft and hard skills are essential to a successful business. In 2021 these skills will be top of mind for employers who want to grow their company and have a profitable year. The problem with needing these specific skills is that there are more jobs than candidates with these skill sets. Here is where upskilling comes in. If you upskill your employees on soft and hard skills that are important for your company's successful growth, you can prepare your business for the future and set yourself up for success. 

How Can Your Company Launch an Online Learning Platform to Train Your Workforce in Top Soft and Hard Skills Easily and Quickly? 

To upskill your employees on in-demand soft and hard skills, your will need an online learning platform. These can be incredibly difficult and expensive to develop in-house. The smart way to offer upskilling to your workforce is by partnering with a company specializing in creating custom branded online learning environments and content creation. By doing this, you can provide your workforce with the exact skills needed to prepare your company for the future.  

An online learning platform that will prepare your current workforce for the future should provide some key components to upskill effectively:  

  • Readily available, custom branded platform with custom content and training courses that are relevant to you're the skills your workforce needs
  • High-tech AI-powered online learning environment that is easy to use and scalable
  • Actionable insights and analytics used to track employee progress/performance, enabling a quick implementation of improvements
  • Engaging delivery methods that keep employees actively learning 

Amesite Offers a Single, Easy to Use, Scalable Solution  

Launch a workforce training program that helps upskill your workforce and allows your company to stay competitive, fill open positions, and increase revenue. 

Amesite is a high-tech AI-powered online learning platform. We specialized in scalable, custom branded online learning environments and content curation to meet employer's unique workforce training needs. Amesite's online learning platform is the key to upskilling your workforces and preparing your company for the future of work. 

Amesite's online learning environment is custom branded to each specific company to build brand loyalty and meet the unique needs of the employer and their employees. We have subject matter experts who design innovative and custom content for courses that provide excellent value to your employees. Your custom branded learning platform can launch in as little as 24 hours, and a host of turnkey, self-paced, highly engaging, and intuitive courses can be ready for your company in as little as 30 days. Establishing a workforce training program has never been easier!  

With Amesite, you can:  

  • Deploy a fully managed enterprise learning platform plus customized courses that enable you to deliver job-specific certifications quickly and efficiently for your staff.
  • Attract and keep employees engaged with social media-inspired interface design and the most up-to-date content.
  • Build employee networks that improve your organization's success.
  • Use A.I. and machine learning to identify trends and make informed decisions while upskilling your teams with comprehensive data analytics and customizable dashboards.  

Amesite creates outstanding learning experiences delivered on its advanced platform, providing an excellent user experience for employees. A.I. and advanced analytics provides fresh content and creates an important context for learning. Partnering with Amesite to provide your workforce training program is a smart decision for your company. Amesite's unprecedented retention rate in the enterprise sector is 100%.  

Let Amesite help upskill your workforce with the top skills of 2021! Request a Demo!  

Check out some of our customer success stories: The Henry Ford,Wayne State University.  

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Resources:  

[1] Burning Glass Technologies. April 13, 2021. https://www.burning-glass.com/research-project/digital-skills-gap/ Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[2] Ed Surge. Feb. 1, 2021. COVID-19 Has Widened the Skills Gap. But It Also Presents an Opportunity to Close It. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-02-01-covid-19-has-widened-the-skills-gap-but-it-also-presents-an-opportunity-to-close-it Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[3] PWC. 2019. The Lost Workforce Upskilling for the Future. https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/world-government-summit/documents/wgs-lost-workforce.pdf Accessed April 15, 2021.   

[4] PWC. 2020. Upskilling: Building confidence in an uncertain world.  https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-survey/2020/trends/pwc-talent-trends-2020.pdf Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[5] Ed Surge. Feb. 1, 2021. COVID-19 Has Widened the Skills Gap. But It Also Presents an Opportunity to Close It. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-02-01-covid-19-has-widened-the-skills-gap-but-it-also-presents-an-opportunity-to-close-it Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[6] Top Resume. 2021. 8 Soft Skills Employers Are Looking for in 2021. https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/6-soft-skills-employers-are-looking-for Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[7] Forbes. Jan 12, 2021. The Top 25 Soft Skills Remote Workers Need In 2021—And 3 Ways To Get Them. https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcperna/2021/01/12/the-top-25-soft-skills-remote-workers-need-in-2021-and-3-ways-to-get-them/?sh=48660dded78b Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[8] Top Resume. 2021. 8 Soft Skills Employers Are Looking for in 2021. https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/6-soft-skills-employers-are-looking-for Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[9] Forbes. Jan 12, 2021. The Top 25 Soft Skills Remote Workers Need In 2021—And 3 Ways To Get Them. https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcperna/2021/01/12/the-top-25-soft-skills-remote-workers-need-in-2021-and-3-ways-to-get-them/?sh=48660dded78b Accessed April 15, 2021. 

[10] Top Resume. 2021. 8 Soft Skills Employers Are Looking for in 2021. https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/6-soft-skills-employers-are-looking-for Accessed April 15, 2021.