Sunday, May 28, 2023

The 8 Things Employers Are Actually Looking for in 2020

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If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility, creativity and ‘pivoting’ (anyone else sick of that word yet?!) are crucial for future success.

They’re important things to keep in mind if you’re one of the thousands who have found themselves without a job in 2020, or if you’re just leaving school or study and you don’t really know how to find your place in the world just yet.

Fee Webby, General Manager of The Mind Lab, a future-thinking tertiary provider who specialise in teaching skills that match the demands of the world we’re currently living in – and crucially, the world we’re about to live in – says it’s never been clearer that the ability to “get stuff done” is what employers are looking for most.

“The future of work is here,” she says. “So many things have changed thanks to Covid, and gone are the days where traditional education values will get you the dream job you want.”

Here are the eight values, skills and areas of expertise and interest employers are on the look-out for in post-Covid Aotearoa – and the ones you might want to mention in CVs and job interviews:

  • Collaboration

It’s more than just cooperation – someone who is truly skilled at collaboration allows others to shine too. It’s the unique skill that allows us to grow as people, to become more innovative and creative and to build the workplace into a safe environment where everyone thrives. It’s an invaluable skill for any employer to have in a team.

  • Sustainability 

Sustainability will shape every decision a business or organisation will make in the future, and employers are looking for people that inherently get this approach and embed it into their everyday thinking and actions. We need to think about sustainability with the long term in mind. We have to start somewhere, yes, reducing our waste, replacing our takeaway coffee cups, but sustainability is about thinking about long term solutions that look after our planet and our people for generations to come

Want to add value to an organisation? School up on sustainability to stand out from the crowd
  • Creativity and Curiosity 

Kiwis aren’t typically a nation of continuous learners when it comes to further education – we tend to go to tertiary in our twenties and think we’re done. As the world moves so quickly around us with large societal, financial and environmental challenges, more than ever, we need to be creative and curious. We need to constantly be thinking things such as – what impact will my action have, what if I did this, how could I change this, why did that happen, could I do this a different way. Diversity of thought is a currency we need to pay more attention to and embrace. Being curious and creative builds out new ideas, allows people, businesses and communities to pivot and also to build resilience that helps ride the wave when things get tough. Essentially, employers don’t want people who stick to the status quo – and now more than ever, we need new approaches to thinking.

  • Problem Solving 

Problem solving, more than ever, is a key skill employers are looking for. Problem solvers are needed across every organisation, every community group, iwi, family etc. Our world is changing around us and we need to ensure that we can exercise our problem solving muscles to tackle these challenges. It’s not just about the big stuff, it’s about the small everyday stuff that changes what we do and how we do it. Having good problem solvers mean that our business and communities can pivot when they need to and support their people so that they can get on with their jobs and lives. Having people that are open to ideas, open to listening to other points of views and coming up with multiple ways of solving the problem is what employers are looking for. 

  • Digital Impact 

We’ve moved from an analogue world to a digital world, but in some respects we haven’t necessarily taken people on the journey and trained them up to understand what digitisation really means. The opportunity here is for us to embrace change, to go in with our eyes wide open and be ready to learn new knowledge, skills and capabilities, so that we can have the confidence to fly when everything is changing around us. We need to arm ourselves with knowledge about the impacts of digitisation and understand the opportunities for business – and this is an invaluable set of skills any potential boss wants in an employee.

Everything is digital – but understanding how our digital world impacts us is crucial for professional progress
  • Leadership 

Anyone can be a leader – but now we are seeing the Western views of leadership challenged. No longer is the  hierarchical, often male-dominated view of leadership something that people aspire to. We are seeing shift towards a more collaborative, values based, purposed-driven, empathetic leadership style. The range of options and leadership models out there means it is not one size fits all and if you think you’re not a leader, you probably are, because even someone who follows, supports and implements a vision is a leader.

  • Entrepreneurship 

Not everyone is, or needs to be, an entrepreneur, but having this skill allows business to try different things, take risks. Without entrepreneurs, we wouldn’t have a Rocket Lab, or Xero for beautiful accounting, spring-free trampolines for kids, wool sneakers from Allbirds or even good coffee! Not all entrepreneurs are successful, but a key trait of an entrepreneur is that they are not afraid to try, try, try and try again. They will fall down and get back up multiple times. They may lose everything and then get back up again. Another key trait of an entrepreneur is to be a visionary – to be able to have a germ of an idea and know that there is a need for it that could be big. They see things that others don’t, they spot opportunity, they jump when others may not.

You don’t have to actually BE an entrepreneur, but harnessing their best characteristics will make you stand out from the crowd
  • Confidence 

Confidence should be paired up with skills and knowledge, because when we open our hearts and our minds to new knowledge, new skills, new ways of doing things, new divergent thinking then our confidence grows. Confidence isn’t about having all the answers, but it is about trusting yourself and knowing who you are. Confidence, paired with the ability to be humble, is a super power – and it makes you invaluable.

HeyFuture! provides a safe space to get to grips with new concepts and flex new muscles whilst putting them into practice, in order to gain the confidence to take that next step to owning your future. Check out HeyFuture! for details on how we’re bringing these skills to life for 18-22 year olds.

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