Upskilling is essential to thriving in today’s marketplace. Do your employees have these most in-demand skills for the years ahead?

The impact of the pandemic has caused L&D to change faster than expected. To be fully prepared, learning leaders have to keep their workforce equipped with the skills of tomorrow.

As ‘thinking machines’ continue to take over what were once human tasks, many are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk. And it’s true. Roles in areas such as data entry, accounting, and administrative support are decreasing in demand as automation and digitization in the workplace increase.

In fact, the Future of Jobs 2020 report predicts that by 2025, automation and a new division of labor between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally. The good thing is 97 million new ones will be created by then, as well. That’s why, as early as now, companies are re-assessing the skills they’re looking for in their people in order to stay ahead of the curve. After all, the most competitive businesses will be those that choose to reskill and upskill current employees.

woman leading a team meeting

Upskilling as a Training Necessity

With the new world of work, organizations are viewing their talent as a renewable resource and creating more opportunities to retain them. Why? So employees can be armed with the right skills they need to succeed in their roles and undertake new ones. 

Large enterprises such as JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and PWC have even spent more than $500M for upskilling training alone. With that, there really is no denying that skill-building is a high priority more than ever.

When LinkedIn Learning asked L&D pros globally what their primary focus was for their L&D programs in 2021, 59% of them said it was upskilling and reskilling. That’s a 15% increase since June 2020!

So if upskilling still isn’t a part of your 2021 L&D program, it’s time to think again. Because investing in the competencies of your employees will not just help them build future-forward skills but also support their ongoing career development.

But the question is, what skills will emerging roles need more? What are the right sets of skills employees should learn and have?

Listed below are the most sought-after skills that are redefining today’s workplace:

Change management

If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that everyone should be ready to adapt quickly to change because the ability to evaluate and make clear decisions whenever needed is essential to stay on top of things.

It can be as simple as making adjustments based on new information and even finding ways to complete tasks more efficiently. For managers, it can be leading their team through change and supporting them as it’s happening.

In navigating the new working world, employees will have to show mental flexibility or a willingness to do things differently – even if the way they operated in the past was very successful. Moving forward, flexibility and resiliency will be much-needed skills!

asian woman smiling while using laptop

Digital fluency

Over the past few years, technology has drastically changed the way businesses operate and how people learn. That’s why being digitally fluent has officially become a must-have for every professional. 

When we say digital fluency, we’re pertaining to the skills a person has to operate effectively in an increasingly digital world. This includes everything from understanding how to use the Microsoft Office suite to advanced artificial intelligence.

According to McKinsey, digital skills make up 70% of the fastest-growing skills worldwide. And it’s not hard to see why. As companies continue to adopt digital technology to transform services or businesses, every employee is expected to have a good understanding of the tech tools given to them.

What are digital tools and platforms for if they can’t be leveraged effectively, right?


Regardless of what your line of work is, where your office is, or what industry you’re from, the reality remains the same: everyone needs communication skills. This includes interpersonal and language skills.

Aside from getting your message across clearly, honing this skill minimizes miscommunication and conflict while also allowing you to collaborate with both local and international colleagues effectively.

More than that, having a good command of language (especially if your company uses a certain language in doing business) helps create better client relationships and bridges communication gaps in the workplace. In fact, today’s remote working environment has shown a high demand for communication skills, with teams learning how to be better listeners and make space for healthy debate — and, more importantly, one another.

On a more personal level, strong communication skills boost work performance, productivity, and assertiveness. No wonder communications rank third on LinkedIn Learning’s list of the most important skills to have in 2021! Additionally, the consumption of communication courses went up by 1,585% in 2020 compared to 2019.

woman speaking to a man, interview


We know what you’re thinking. Storytelling? How is that important for work?

Well, in any professional setting, employees often find themselves sharing their thoughts about a specific topic or business matter. This is where storytelling comes in.

Since humans are more receptive to stories than compared to plain facts or data, stories help us relate, empathize and remember. They provide meaning, create context and evoke a sense of purpose. With that, companies are recognizing just how powerful of a skill it is.

Just think of Steve Jobs introducing a new iPhone or a government official delivering a state of the nation address. To engage their audience, leaders, and managers often use it as a valuable technique to build increasing influence.

But this doesn’t mean that storytelling is just for leaders. Any employee needs it just as much when participating in meetings, presenting findings, persuading an executive towards a particular course of action, or even making a sale or pitch.

Whether it’s in front of a single person or an audience of 100, being able to compel and influence is vital in today’s competitive professional marketplace.

Growth mindset

Thriving in today’s workplace starts with possessing a growth mindset. Meaning, you believe that your abilities can be built and developed over time.

With this, employees are more likely to embrace challenges, take risks, and use feedback to learn from failures and mistakes. This can also help them be more creative because they are more likely to persistently pursue solutions.

At the end of the day, your success will depend on how willing you are to keep an open mind, stay curious, develop new skills, and approach difficult tasks.

man happily working on his laptop

Start Future-Proofing Your Workforce Today!

Learning new skills has a way of opening up new doors, even ones that you didn’t see coming. In the journey to upskilling your own people (or even just yourself), it’s important to note that the skills you should be focusing on are the right ones that will help drive innovation and growth.

So keep these five key skills in mind and your workforce is sure to succeed and bring value to the company in 2021 and beyond.