Effective communication emerged top, gaining significant importance this year as compared to in 2020 (68% in 2021, vs 48% in 2020). Meanwhile, skills such as innovation dropped in importance, but remained in the top 10 (42% in 2021, vs 49% in 2020).

Effective communication has emerged the top most coveted adaptive skill among employers in Singapore today, gaining significant importance this year as compared to in 2020, a new report by NTUC LearningHub has found

In particular, 68% of employers surveyed this year have said it is key to business viability, 20% more than last year (48%). The skill - which was defined as one that "helps close information gaps in times of uncertainty, establish clear expectations, and align purpose among employees," has in fact become increasingly in industries including manufacturing (74%), essential domestic services (71%), and lifestyle (50%).

Coming in second as an important adaptive skill was teamwork, which gained a little more importance in the past year (55% in 2021, vs 52% in 2020), followed by leadership in third place (53% in 2021, vs 45% in 2020).

While these skills had risen in importance, the top 10 skills listed also saw a few drop in importance. For instance, just a little more than four in 10 employers (42%) said innovation would be important in 2021, down from close to half in 2020 (49%). Service excellence also dropped in popularity, with 41% ranking it important in 2021 (2020: 46%).

Overall, the top 10 most in-demand adaptive skills, listed by Singapore employers, are:

#1 Effective communication (2021: 68%; 2020: 48%)
#2 Teamwork (2021: 55%; 2020: 52%)
#3 Leadership (2021: 53%; 2020: 45%)
#4 Negotiation and influencing (2021: 51%; 2020: 36%)
#5 Innovation (2021: 42%; 2020: 49%)
#6 Service excellence (2021: 41%; 2020: 46%)
#7 Conflict management (2021: 40%; 2020: NIL)
#8 Creativity (2021: 40%; 2020: 43%)
#9 Design thinking (2021: 30%; 2020: 32%)
#10 LEAN Principles (2021:19%; 2020: NIL)

Breaking it down by industry-coveted skills, leadership emerged among the top three in four out of six industries listed, as did teamwork and effective communication.

The following infographic details further:

priya mar 2021 ntuc learninghub survey adaptive skills report screenshot lead

 

Digital skills outlook

Apart from the above, the report also revealed the top 10 most in-demand digital skills among Singapore employers, where digital marketing led the way with 50% of employers ranking it important (2020: 44%). This was followed by data analysis in second place, although slightly less important than last year (36% in 2021, vs 40% in 2020); and project management in third place which also dropped in importance (35% in 2021, vs 43% in 2020).

The skills in the top 10 which saw increased importance include basic IT support (35% in 2021, vs 33% in 2020), robotic process automation (20% in 2021, vs 17% in 2020), and cybersecurity (27% in 2021, vs 25% in 2020).

Overall, the top 10 most-coveted digital skills among Singapore employers are:

#1 Digital marketing (2021: 50%; 2020: 44%)
#2 Data analysis (2021: 36%; 2020: 40%)
#3 Project management (2021: 35%; 2020: 43%)
#4 Basic IT support (2021: 35%; 2020: 33%)
#5 Data-driven decision making (2021: 30%; 2020: 32%)
#6 Web/app design and development (2021: 28%; 2020: 31%)
#7 Cybersecurity (2021: 27%; 2020: 25%)
#8 Governance, risk management and personal data protection (2021: 24%; 2020: 22%)
#9 AI/Machine learning (2021: 22%; 2020: 20%)
#10 Robotic process automation (2021: 20%; 2020: 17%)

By industry, the following skills emerged the top three most in-demand among employers:

priya mar 2021 ntuc learninghub survey digital skills report screenshot lead


Lead image and article photos / NTUC LearningHub report

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