Top Employment Skills are Transferable

Nat King Cole sang about “Those Lazy-Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” 50 years ago. Today, however, you may not have any of those days scheduled – especially if you are concerned about being sure you have the top employment skills. Short summer sessions and flexible scheduling can give you the opportunity to evaluate how your skills compare to top employment skills businesses are seeking, and continue your education.

The top employment skills that are named from poll to poll and source to source are all similar, even if their numerical ranking varies. These top employment skills are important for people in today’s labor market who want to be an integral part of tomorrow’s labor market. These skills are transferable from job to job and occupational field to occupational field. They are skills that workers will need to have regardless of how much automation there is in the workplace.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, at least 30 percent of activities in 60 percent of jobs can be automated. This doesn’t mean that robots will take over our jobs. The report says less than 5 percent of occupations can be fully automated with today’s technology. What it does mean is that jobs will change. “Those who are starting out in life or are early in their professional careers are likely to face employment instability and volatility,” says Darrell West, Brown Center Chalkboard. “The type of work they do at age 30 likely will be substantially different from what they do at ages 40, 50, or 60.”

LinkedIn analyzed top employment skills that employers need – skills that are needed in many fields and occupations.

Technical skills

Computer literacy is fundamental for most jobs – whether you work in a technological occupation or not. LinkedIn recommend that everyone learn Microsoft Office. Many jobs require Word, Excel and Outlook knowledge, and workers can transfer these skills to whatever job they have. Computer literacy can be learned in short but extremely valuable classes, and these skills will be perfected as you work on the job.

Soft skills

Customer service is near the top of the LinkedIn list of top employment skills. Don’t confuse this with a skill only needed for retail occupations. “Every job has a customer service component. Whether it’s behind a customer service kiosk or managing internal employee issues, every role requires you to provide some sort of satisfactory service to internal or external customer,” says Michael Schneider, human capital specialist. For effective customer service, develop communication, problem-solving and listening skills.

Collaboration is one the top employment skills employers seek. To function at its best, a business needs employees that work together, and provide “customer service” to their co-workers. In collaborative situations employees assume their share of responsibilities and work toward a cooperative end. They communicate to explore possible solutions and work together to get best results from creative problem solving.

Research, critical thinking and analysis are top employment skills that can apply to many fields, according to Schneider’s list. Research isn’t limited to work done in medical and science labs. It involves finding and sifting through information that is readily available, anytime, on virtually any subject. Employees may be called on to research products, materials, processes or suppliers, whatever their occupation. Effective research includes analyzing data from test results and surveys. Analysis requires critical thinking and evaluating the impact the information has on business outcomes.

This summer may be a good time to take classes that help develop these top employment skills. Time invested this summer in developing these skills will yield both near and long-term payoffs. These skills are needed now to fill skills gaps. They will be needed in the future, and are transferable as workers move from job to job or field to field, or to jobs that are not yet created.