What Skills are People Learning in Lockdown?

Some people have found themselves with more time on their hands lately. So, just what skills are people learning during the lockdown? Research suggests that people are moving away from technical skills to broader skills that are easily transferable. People are looking to develop skills that fit all kinds of roles, rather than focusing on individual ones.

The Rise of Transferable Skills

There has been a noticeable increase in people learning more about Microsoft Excel, communication, and leadership. There has been a drop in specific skills such as programming in Java and Pythom and learning about Machine Learning.

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Employers Value Skills with a Long Shelf Life

There appears to be a definite shift in value for skills with a long shelf life. That is, skills that can be used in many roles and are highly transferrable. These skills help employees – and the businesses they work for – deal with the change of an uncertain future. Flexible skills mitigate the risks of job loss, making it easier for employees to shift to different roles or work on different projects instead of losing their job.

Skills such as communication, leadership, and management can be applied to lots of different situations, industries, and locations. Change is the only constant in life, and you should be prepared to deal with it.

Given that industries such as hospitality and travel have been changed so much by the current crisis, giving employees the right skills gives you an advantage over the competition. Invest in upskilling now and get better responsiveness to any sudden changes, such as what we’re going through now.

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Prioritize Transferable Skills

Just because fewer people are searching for technical skills such as Machine Learning, Python and Java doesn’t mean those skills aren’t still important. There will always be room for skills like this.

However, the drop in searches is a clear sign that people aren’t prioritizing innovative technical skills right now. The world is just too prone to change to focus on things like that. These are skills that support aspirational learning and long-term career development. There can be no doubt that people will pick up learning them again once the present problems have passed, and we get back to whatever counts as normal in the new world. For the time being, however, learners are focusing on development talents that will help them to navigate the constantly-shifting business landscape.

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A Focus on Tailored Learning

Learning professionals should focus on providing tailored learning content to learners looking to develop transferable skills. Focusing on upskilling and learning helps learners to focus on the future, giving them the tools they need to manage their career growth and personal development right now. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when it comes to education. Teach people in the way they want to be taught and give them the tools they need to adjust to any situation. Learners can go back to focusing on specialized skills once they settle back into regular life and have some idea of where they are – and where they want to be.

Jason Acker

Project manager for a multinational in the energy sector. Being a remote worker fits in perfectly with my home and family life. I still pay PAYE so I have all the same rights as the office based staff

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