at work

Neo skills for 2021

It has been some time since the pandemic descended upon populations around the globe, and from very early on we knew that things may never go back to the way it was before.

A wide range of industries, especially industries that are traditional and/or with traditional ways of doing things, were disrupted.

Anthony Raja Devadoss

But, despite being vastly different from one another, the one thing they all have in common is their rapid shift towards more digital solutions.

Video conferencing tools became very vital for operations, interactions, and engagements to continue, and Zoom continues to be a huge gainer in this respect. If there is an opportunity to digitise workflows and processes, businesses are taking a closer look than they ever did. More digitally enabled ways of working now, are also accelerated due to work-from-home policies being implemented.

Moving forward, this means more upskilling, or at least re-skilling, in the horizon.

As we enter 2021, whats skillsets should individuals and companies, emphasise?


PERSOLKELLY Consulting’s Managing Director and  Business Head,  Asia Pacific, Anthony Raja Devadoss observed that we are in an era that is unexpected and unprecedented.

There is still much uncertainty about what a New Normal would look like, but work trends are slowly and surely emerging and Anthony shared skills that he observed are in demand, moving forward.

“In fact, the pandemic brought a huge disruption for traditional learning and traditional jobs or skills. In that sense, priorities have shifted dramatically,” he said.

For example, roles that were volume-based and/or popular before, like sales,  marketing, and production, are now in the bottom five ranking.

Replacing them on the top ten list of popular jobs, are skills in user experience design, digital marketing, cloud, data science, AI, and blockchain.

These skills have moved up from the bottom five ranking, and recent rating by LinkedIn at one point, showed demand for blockchain skills right at the top.

Anthony also observed, “Given that everyone is going into connectivity, on the cloud side, I also noticed cybersecurity (rankings) have also gone up.”

New way of doing things

There is demand for more technical skills to support the volume demand for more digital solutions. But, sales and marketing is also fuelling that demand.

“Sales and marketing will continue to be relevant, but their approach to doing things will need to change,” Anthony said.

For example, a sales person will need to be very comfortable doing sales digitally. “I should be more comfortable with the virtualised approach, for example,” he said.

What a sales professional used to do with their physical approach, like conversations and presentations, and even formats, will have to change.

In fact, Anthony did 30 webinars in the past 9 months and found that what he used to do during in-person speeches, presentations, engagements and so on, has amplified with the webinar format. This format enabled him to reach over 3000 people.

“That’s the best approach. It seems to be faster and more effective. Having said that, you need to acquire the skills to be able to do that. Besides this, (one also has to ) be able to connect digitally as well as, with different networks.”

Anthony gave the example of a live TV interview, over Skype video conferencing from a different location.

‘So, the point is sales and marketing will have to kind of become a sales and marketing 2.0.”

That includes being more digital savvy with the ability to use devices, apps, and bandwidth to connect to different platforms.

Virtual savvy, or the ability to navigate apps, set up virtual backgrounds, while managing cameras and microphones, is also important. It’s like having a digital twin (of ourselves) and being able to manage it digitally, Anthony commented.

This is something not just sales and marketing, but many other job functions will have to mentally prepare for, moving forward.