Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, learners are moving away from job-specific knowledge to soft skills - specifically leadership and career enablement. 

According to Tigerhall's analysis of data behind the consumption habits of its users (a majority of whom work in key APAC markets such as Singapore, Malaysia and India), content consumption on categories such as sales and marketing dropped significantly in H1 2020 by 36.7% and 20.15% respectively as compared to H2 2019.

Given that a significant percentage of Tigerhall users belong to the sales and marketing functions, in addition to finance, tech, and HR, the dip in consumption of job-specific knowledge in favour of soft skills shed light on a clear shift in priorities as professionals contend with a unique set of problems triggered by the pandemic. 

Tigerhall structures its learning content into seven main categories, namely, leadership, career enablement, influencing stakeholders, marketing, sales, investing, understanding industries.

Among these categories, the consumption of leadership content saw the greatest uptick. Consumption of Podcasts and Power Reads on leadership in H1 2020 doubled when compared to H2 2019 ( 206% increase ).

Digging deeper, Tigerhall pointed out that this trend suggested that users were looking to learn insights on embracing change and disruption, communicating effectively as leaders, making hiring and firing decisions, as well as managing a team that is working remotely; aptly reflecting the challenges faced by professionals in mid-level positions and above in their efforts to help their teams and organisations navigate the ongoing economic crisis.

The study further revealed that while career enablement remained the most popular category, a stark difference can be seen in the subcategories chosen by Tigerhall users. 

Comparing H2 2019 and H1 2020, priorities for professionals have shifted from career advancement (scoring a promotion, developing strategic thinking capabilities etc.) to coping during difficult times, improving productivity and enhancing personal brand. The shift may indicate a bleaker career outlook as compared to last year, but it also offers encouraging signs that professionals are looking for inspiration to adapt to the new normal.

At the same time, there was also an increase in demand for mentorship on topics such as employability and future-proofing careers, mirroring the rise in popularity of content pieces on personal branding as highlighted in the earlier paragraph.

Additionally, Tigerhall observed that learners had a weaker appetite for learning about investing. Despite being one of the more popular categories in H2 2019, content consumption on investment dropped by 30% in H1 2020, mirroring the grim economic outlook that has gripped the world in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Reflecting on the findings, Tigerhall CEO Nellie Wartoft said: “The statistics from this study demonstrate a strong alignment between learning patterns and the challenges we face in our careers today. It’s encouraging to see how quickly and significantly people are coping constructively by shifting their learning priorities to areas that are much-needed now.

"The insights shed light on how professionals are increasingly taking ownership to stay motivated in the new normal and rising up to inspire confidence and navigate change well as leaders. The desire to learn and adapt is evident here and this is what will determine our success in emerging stronger from a difficult year ahead. I believe that many are well-positioned not just to adjust to the new norm but to thrive and positively shape the world as we know it.”

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