the outlook for 2021
Although there’s no way to predict with exact certainty what the post-COVID-19 world will look like, we do know that it has changed the way we work and with that comes new desired skills that companies look for when hiring. Since the onset of the pandemic, blue-collar and white-collar workers from a number of different industries have had to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and companies have had to establish new roles and responsibilities while simultaneously creating entirely new working environments in response to the crisis. Here’s a look at how you can upskill your qualifications to land one of the top jobs in Canada in 2021.
COVID-19 has left people feeling anxious all over the world. Customers are still racing for answers about refunds for disrupted purchases, or services that they can access, in addition to questions about repayment plans or payment deferrals. Now more than ever before, customer service reps need to communicate with a heightened level of sensitivity and empathy. To meet the increased demand for customer service, many industries have shifted to sustainable digital self-service platforms, to free-up capacity so their reps can take on more sensitive requests. In addition to learning new digital tools and software, there may be new training requirements to prepare reps to handle more complex issues and tasks. Customer service jobs are available across Canada in a number of sectors like telecoms, healthcare, finance, travel and tourism, and hospitality, among many others.
Scheduling has become an in demand skill to ensure companies have the employees to maintain service levels during the pandemic. If you work in a role with a HR or management component, scheduling is a critical skill right now. With many companies cutting back their teams and budgets, careful planning of schedules and shifts to ensure coverage is critical. Poor scheduling can have a negative impact on employees’ mental health, happiness at work, and work-life balance. With tight budgets due to the pandemic, companies are very careful about doling out their resources, including their workforce. There are also health and safety considerations to think about. With the pandemic, many provinces have instituted rules and regulations about how many people can be present on a worksite. In some cases capacity is reduced by as much as 50%. That means carefully scheduling workers in rotating shifts, or having employees work from remote locations. Being able to effectively manage limited resources is an in-demand skill right now.
According to research, global e-commerce sales will hit $4.5 trillion by 2021 which is a whopping increase of 246%. That trend is only accelerating during the pandemic, as customers shift to online shopping from the safety of their own home. To succeed in the year ahead, businesses will be looking for e-commerce related know-how like how to leverage data to create curated personalized content, develop subscription models, integrate e-commerce on social media, and implement multi-channel and omnichannel retail touchpoints. Demand for these skills will be seen across a number of retail spaces like apparel, automotive, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health, personal care and beauty, and entertainment.
As many companies from a wide variety of sectors had to halt operations, or experienced a decrease in revenue, they will be looking for guidance on how to best adapt their budgets for the new normal. In addition to planning for multiple crisis scenarios, companies will be looking for expertise around forecasting, new ways to generate cash flow, creating or rebuilding a business emergency fund, and debt repayment. Budgeting skills will be needed across all Canadian sectors, so if you’ve got a flair for defining business priorities and financial goals, you’ll be in demand.
Canada’s Federal Government has deemed repairs essential to protect Canadian communities while maintaining the reliable operation of critical infrastructure services and functions to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of the population. This applies to a large list of industries like Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government, and Manufacturing and encompasses a wide variety of roles. If you’re a skilled plumber, electrician, exterminator, escalator and elevator mechanic, construction or restoration expert, home appliance service provider, or necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and buildings there will be no shortage of work all across the country.
As remote work continues to trend upwards, effective project management skills will be highly sought after. From construction to healthcare, project management spans across all sectors and companies will be looking for candidates who can manage remote teams and projects from inception to completion. Project Managers who can highlight experience in digital project management, change management, risk management, and have the ability to extract and communicate solid, clear insights from data will be in need.
cleaning and sanitizing
It’s no surprise that cleaning and sanitizing skills will be in extreme demand. After mandated lockdowns of shared spaces begin to ease, businesses from restaurants to airlines to office buildings and warehouses will be going above and beyond to show customers that they’re keeping workers and customers as safe as possible. Many businesses and organizations will be looking for janitorial partners and expertise in using new technologies like an electrostatic sprayer to showcase expanded cleaning efforts.
Across the Pharmaceutical, Medical, Aerospace, Construction, and Manufacturing industries, there will be a need for quality control to ensure that products follow compliance with specific laws, standards, and regulations. If you have the ability to pay attention to detail, follow meticulous procedures, problem-solve and document everything you do, you’ll be in high demand.
Administrative skills can be useful in a variety of different roles and sectors. With remote work and flexible working hours on the rise, today’s workplace demands a new level of creative thinking and problem-solving to keep everything running smoothly. Skills that are an asset in this field include knowing what tools, databases, and go-to resources should be used to keep everything organized; the ability to multitask; willingness to cross-train in multiple departments; and implementing digital and virtual collaboration tools, all while expressing a high level of emotional intelligence while interacting with colleagues, customers, vendors, and stakeholders. Administrative support skills are needed across Canada in a number of areas such as payroll, HR, health and social policy development, education, finance, healthcare, communications, advertising, and marketing just to name a few.
Accounting is one area in which companies both big and small are looking for the best talent. For a lot of companies, 2021 will be the year to ditch non-essential expenditures and instead focus on sustainable cash flow. Skills that will be extremely valuable involve strategic financial planning and analysis skills in order to budget, forecast, and create financial models while operating in an uncertain business environment. From a cost perspective, accounting skills are also necessary to address staffing structure, negotiate flexible supplier and vendor payment terms and can provide knowledgeable guidance on how to access government funding.