As we move into 2020 and the start of a new decade, it is important to take the time to consider how your industry and workplace may have changed in recent years, and how they will continue to evolve in the future. Crucially, you also need to gain an understanding of what businesses actually need from their employees in this modern age.
From participating in project manager training, through to online personal development efforts, there are numerous ways to improve your skills and deliver greater value as an employee, as long as you know what to work on. In this article, we take a closer look at the top skills employers are looking for now and in the years to come.
In the age of big data and artificial intelligence, one of the main ways humans can offer value to businesses and project teams is through creativity. This means the ability to come up with unique ideas and work in unique ways, which cannot be replicated by machines. It often involves thinking outside the box, taking risks and trying new things.
For those working in project management or similar roles, such creativity can be developed through project manager training that focuses on ideas like design thinking and complex problem solving. Understanding these ideas can also help you to use your creativity within a robust framework, where fresh and even potentially risky ideas can be explored.
Technology is constantly improving and modern businesses are striving to keep up with the latest trends. Developing your understanding of up-to-date technology in your industry and ensuring you know how to use the latest tools and software is a great way to impress employers, who may otherwise need to spend time and money training you.
“Technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, so you need to understand and keep on top of it,” explains Avil Beckford, in an article written for Forbes as part of the site’s Ellevate Network. “Sometimes it’s better to read articles in respected technology journals, as books may become quickly outdated.”
In particular, some of the newer technologies that you may need to explore include artificial intelligence, cloud computing, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and both virtual and augmented reality.
Developing collaborative skills is another prerequisite for sustainable success in 2020 and beyond. Employers need to know that you can work with your own team, on a cross-functional basis with other teams, and potentially with other businesses too. This means knowing when to delegate, when to take initiative and when to listen to others.
High-quality PM training programmes will often place an emphasis on building the cross-functional and communication-type skills necessary. Additionally, an article for Top Resume points out that online quizzes and similar tests can gauge your emotional intelligence, allowing you to more easily identify areas of weakness within your people skills.
Finally, a modern project manager must contend with greater uncertainty than at any other point. As Lindsay Scott outlined in a previous post for the PMO Perspectives blog, projects have also become more complex than in the past, due to factors like the need to satisfy more stakeholders and increased ambiguity in terms of project features.
These factors, combined with modern workplace flexibility, mean project managers need to be adaptive and able to respond at short notice to unexpected changes in project requirements. The necessary skills for this can be worked on through dedicated adaptive leadership PM training, while established concepts like Agile are also useful.
The Last Word
Thanks to the rise of big data, artificial intelligence, flexible working and project ambiguity, successful project management requires different skills than in the past. Creativity is in high demand, employers need staff who possess technological expertise, collaboration is more important than ever, and leaders must also be adaptive.