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  • Post last modified:May 3, 2021

Workplaces all across the globe is evolving. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has led to a major change in work behaviour, settings and most importantly key skills. So, which of the skills would employers and recruiters prefer the most in 2021? It is this question that we take us here and try to answer the same. 

Let’s get started with exploring some of the topmost skills and qualities employers would look for in 2021.

One of the researches from Recruiting expert Hays surveyed 23,000 respondents and uncovered the skills which companies are most in need in the next 12 months. The findings in a nutshells are:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills (reportedly needed by 55%)
  • Ability to adopt change (needed by 53%)
  • Problem-solving (45% reaffirmed the need)
  • Flexibility and adaptability (43%)
  • People management skills (needed by 41%)

So, in this article we would be coving all these skills and other 5 key skills mentioned below.

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Continuous learning
  • Sales and Presentation skills
  • Resilience
  • Tech Skills

Let’s begin with the skills that is set to be a key differentiator for everyone at your workplace in 2021 and beyond.

Tech Skills

Technology today is being used by almost every industry today. A lot of people use cloud and machine learning without even knowing that they are using the same.

From simple banking transactions to complicated regression models, everything has been simplified due to technology.

So, tech savviness and a better understanding of technology can certainly give you an edge over others in your career. Not being tech savvy and not being able to continuously upgrade yourself with learning can be one of your biggest career mistakes.

So, start embracing technology more.

The below video nicely sums up a few of the key skills of the future and most of these are dominated by tech skills like coding, cloud, AI, Big data and more. Have a look!

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Communication without using interpersonal skills is not valuable. Connecting with the audience is crucial and that has to be done using your body language and interpersonal skills. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is the most important skills for employers and recruiters. 

An effective communicator is able to open communication channels between the team and leads to better and a more integrated effort.

Interpersonal skills like active listening, motivating and caring, team working and leadership skills are like icing on cake with effective communication.

It is thus not a surprise that recruiters treat this skill as the topmost for employability.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is nothing new to organisations today. A lot of organisations test EI or EQ (Emotional Quotient is a synonym of EI used by many organisations) and have even started giving more importance to the same that the regular aptitude test. 

This again is going to be a key skill for employability in 2021 and beyond. Increasing use of technology, work life balance, recent COVID pandemic, gender imbalance, variable pay, flexible working and other similar issues have made our workplaces multidimensional.

A good IQ is just not enough for leaders and managers. Emotional intelligence is a term given to multidimensional approach to emotions. Emotional intelligence is all about understanding and using emotions better. 

One of our other articles explains more about on how to use emotional intelligence for career success. Also, have a look at the infographic below by STEM. It mentions a lot of key qualities that increases your employability. Emotional intelligence plays an extremely vital role in each of the skills mentioned in the infographic below.

Ability to adopt change

As stated at the beginning this again is one of the preferred skills by employers. Over 50% of surveyed employers termed this as a key employability skill in 2021.

This certainly seems so true especially in the backdrop of a pandemic and with ever improving technology and consumer behaviour.

It has become crucial for managers to adapt to a continuously changing workplace.

Change management is thus a key subject in most of the MBAs these days. Understanding change and then quickly reacting and adapting to the same gives you an edge over your competition for sure.

The key principles of change management are:

  • Understanding change
  • Planning and implementing change
  • Effectively communicating the changes others


The workplace of today has become more and more complex.

2021 and the future ahead of us is getting bombarded with innovation and new products. 

With new technologies and innovation comes issues and complaints. 

The consumer blackbox is becoming bigger and more complex and decoding a consumer’s mind has become more and more difficult.

Management consultants used to be the problem solvers back in the days but in today’s scenario every team member has to be a problem solver in his or her own ways.

It is thus no surprise that most of the employers find this attribute one of the most important in prospective hire.

Continuous Learning

Change management, innovation, EI and effective communication will all not be possible for those who are unwilling to learn continuously.

In the every changing landscape of workplace, continuous learning is the only way to sustain and grow in career.

A stupendous rise in online learning platforms and professional learning shows the growing importance of these professional courses.

Gone are the days when only a few skills were enough to compete with the best. In the current knowledge economy, you need to be ready learning new skills on a regular basis.

Improving daily is the name of the game to succeed in the current workplace.

Have a look at the image below to see how the skills keep on adding up at different stages and it’s our hunger of learning that helps us pile up more skills to stay competitive.

Image Courtesy- Cte ED

Flexibility and adaptability

Flexibility and adaptability are skills that extend beyond the workplace.

From working in a team to working from all, flexibility is a necessity more than a virtue now.

Also, adaptability is crucial for managing and sustaining in ever-changing workplace environment. 

It is due to these reasons this skill is again one of the top 10 skills employers are looking for in 2021.

People management skills

This goes without asking that an expertise in people management is a key requisite to excel as a leader at any organisation. It is collection of all the soft skills a few of which are already mentioned in the qualities being mentioned here.

It is these skills that will help you excel as a manager or a leader.

Skills like trust, patience, active listening, empathy and various other soft skills are included in the umbrella of people management skills.

These are more difficult to define and measure than the technical skills. Thus they are qualities which can’t be simply displayed on a CV. Recruiters are trained to analyse these skills during the interview. The what would do questions or share an experience questions are typically used to assess these skills. 

Sales and Presentation skills

The whole intent of an organisation is to attain profits by satisfying customer needs.

So, the employers seek expertise in presentation skills.

You would need to be well versed with powerpoint and video presentations. Also, you need to be good at too like Salesforce to ensure that you are well versed with the sales ecosystem.

Selling is an art that is still a scarce resource across industries. The who excel in selling and presenting can guarantee themselves a rewarding career.

All employees or entrepreneurs with business acumen have this skills in common.

Storytelling has been gaining importance these days while presentations that evoke emotions are getting popular as well. Recruiters prefer those employees who are good at presenting and selling products and services. After all it all comes down to making profits for the organisation. 


All employees, entrepreneurs or leaders are sure to hit roadblocks in their journey.

It’s not the roadblocks that make the story. It’s the way these people bounce back that is remembered.

This art of staying tough on the face of difficulties and bouncing back from challenges is called Resilience.

This is a quality that has been preferred by employers from ages and will continue to be a preferred quality by recruiters in the years to come.


Here you go, some of the many top skills employers would be looking for 2021.

There are a lot of soft skills like positivity, motivation, discipline, time management etc. that could have head a mention on the list. 

We have covered top interview skills in one of our other posts. So, if you are heading to an interview in the recent future, you might as well check that post.

These are however more of a necessity than a quality these days. You are expected to be motivated and disciplined from day one.

So, if you are looking for some extra brownie points in your next interview, prepare along the lines of these skills and you are sure to come out with flying colours. 


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