skills, technical capabilities, upskilling, learning & development, technology

While technical capabilities remain essentially crucial for many roles, employers highly prize human skills such as collaboration, communication, and leadership.

In a period of economic uncertainty, businesses are looking for employees who can stay relevant and versatile, while those who fail to upskill get left behind by the more prepared and adaptable. And as threats of recession hit countries such as the US and Australia, Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia are likely to be affected due to the impact on tourism and trade, consequently putting more pressure on local businesses and employees.

How then, can employees continue to stay up-to-date with the right skills, and play their part in keeping themselves and the business afloat?

For a better understanding, Pearson’s Skills Outlook has identified today’s new ‘power skills’ – the capabilities now powering the world’s economy and individual careers. Using an analysis of over 21mn job ads globally, the research shows that while technical capabilities remain essentially crucial for many roles, employers highly prize human skills such as collaboration, communication, and leadership.

Per Pearson’s Skills Outlook, the five skills that today’s employers look for the most are all human skills:

  • Communication
  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Attention to Detail
  • Collaboration

As the world settles into a hybrid style of working, it further suggests that the top five power skills that will be most in demand to meet the economic need in 2026 are also human skills:

  • Collaboration
  • Customer focus
  • Personal learning
  • Achievement focus
  • Cultural and social intelligence

Additionally, as the adoption of new technologies continues, non-technical skills such as the ability to learn cultural and social intelligence are only becoming more important. Organisations that recognise this and invest in helping employees build transferable and flexible capabilities are the ones that will thrive in a changing world, it was highlighted.

Looking at technical skills, however, Dr Richard George, Vice President, Data Science, Workforce Skills at Pearson, points out: "Although technical skills are increasingly high in demand, technological advancement can often render these skills obsolete or unique to specific job scopes. For instance, the Great Recession of 2008 brought about a major shift in skill requirements for that time. Skills such as analysis and data savviness became high in demand and those companies invested time and resources into upskilling or rehiring.

"Even in tech roles, human skills allow employees to be agile and adaptable in their learning," he noted.

Last, the study also emphasised the relevance of power skills to the Southeast Asian market. In fast-paced markets such as Singapore, a focus on personal learning and achievement help employees differentiate themselves from the rest. Additionally, cross-border and intraregional collaboration is a common part of job scopes, especially in multinational corporations, where collaboration skills as well as cultural and social Intelligence help employees thrive.

Image / Provided

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