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Are these the most in demand 2021 job skills?

Published: Friday 19th February 2021

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and many managers have recognised the importance of certain skills that employees have shown to support companies throughout these tough times. According to the World Economic Forum, this year, for the first time, self-management skills such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility have been ranked as the most in demand 2021 job skills. 

Self-management among the most in demand 2021 job skills

So, for job seekers looking for their next job in 2021, self-management skills should be at their top of the list. In specific, these skills reflect your ability to regulate and control your actions, feelings, and thoughts. The three key self-management skills include initiative, organisation and accountability. 


Initiative is being able to work without always getting guidance. You can show initiative by thinking for yourself and taking action when needed. It means that you’re goal-driven, determined to reach your objectives. Initiative requires self-belief because you need resilience and motivation to go out of your way to solve problems or do things without being reminded or asked. Therefore, by showing initiative, you also demonstrate resilience, motivation and determination.

Text sign showing Invest In Yourself. skills, soft skills, career development most in demand 2021 job skills concept.


If you are organised in life and work it means you can plan your time and the things you have to do. You know what is most important, what should be done first and what will take the longest. It’s all about being prepared adequately for each task. Moreover, organisation includes skills such as time management and stress management. 


Accountability and responsibility are similar but they don’t mean the same thing. A manager at work could give you responsibility for a task but you could still look for someone else to blame if it all goes wrong, or you could decide not to put the effort in because you don’t really care about the results. By showing you are accountable, you prove you are trustworthy, mindful and reliable as a colleague and team member. 

Thus, demonstrating self-management as a job seeker in your CV, cover letter and interview could be what sets you apart from the competition. Discussing the lessons you’ve learned from mistakes, talking about unprecedented problems you’ve helped solve in the past and explaining how you manage your time wisely, hold yourself accountable and keep yourself motivated even without the support of a team around, could be game-changing. In fact, managers want to see that not only you’re willing to confront complicated situations and do great work on your own, but also that you’ve done it before. 


Adaptability is one of the most in demand 2021 job skills. We’ve all had to be adaptable this year, whether that was in order to source a new job, start working from home or stick to Government guidelines and changes. Being adaptable is vitally important because it underpins one’s ability to respond proactively during rapidly changing times. Indeed, adaptability and forward-thinking are both of paramount importance in the workplace. What worked in the past to drive a company’s success is probably not solely what will drive its success in the future. So, being adaptable as an employee, is one of the top skills hiring managers want to see and are looking for. 

male businessman in eyewear checking documentation working from home remotely

Data analytics

This is a skill that seems to appear on “top skills lists” every year, and for good reason. Companies continue to increasingly rely on data to steer strategic decision making, especially now when staying on top of trends and changes is of vital importance. Data analysts, managers, and those who understand how to use data analytics within their role will have an advantage.

Problem-solving, one of the most in demand 2021 job skills

2020 highlighted the importance of having people on your team who can come up with unique solutions to new and emerging situations. On the other hand, those who struggled to sustain the business during this time have come to realise the important role that critical thinking and flexibility in providing solutions play. Therefore, expect companies to seek out people with strong problem-solving skills.

Change management 

There is a lot of uncertainty within businesses and the global job market. One thing that’s for certain is, that top-performing companies are strong when it comes to managing change. That’s why companies are looking for employees who can help with managing this change amid uncertainty in order to support the team and the business. 

The above are the most in demand 2021 job skills that Zoek is seeing more often in job descriptions and in communications with employers and hIrers recruiting through our job board. So, if you are searching for your next job and looking to add some new skills to your CV, start with this list!

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