Most in-demand soft skills for remote employees in 2020

This year has been the year where remote working has truly come to the forefront, with the change-up leading to a rise in demand for ‘soft skills’ (skills which relate to how you work). At the beginning of 2020, LinkedIn conducted research and made some predictions of which of these skills would be in high demand.

Man working remotely

Demand was measured by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of those getting hired at the highest rate. The skills identified were:

  1. creativity
  2. persuasion
  3. collaboration
  4. adaptability
  5. emotional intelligence

However, the unpredictable nature of 2020 has brought some changes. So, almost at the end of 2020, taking into account all the surprises and unexpected twists, we at WikiJob decided to create our own list. To our mind, some reordering and additional skills are required to make this list perfectly compiled for 2020 and beyond.

1. Adaptability

Ranked number four in LinkedIn’s list, adaptability skyrockets to the top of our list. Surprised? The modern workplace is ever-changing. This year, even those who never imagined themselves as remote employees had the chance to (or were forced to) try it. 

To maintain profitability and engagement, companies will likely be looking for candidates who will prove to be resilient, innovative, calm, and ready to work under pressure from anywhere in the world.

Therefore, we predict that top interview questions from now on will relate to adaptability (the ability to acclimatise under changing circumstances).

2. Creativity

LinkedIn’s top skill moves to the second position on our list. However, this one has to remain high on any list. Organisations will always require people to approach tasks and problems creatively. Top companies will likely search for new ways to develop, train, and improve the creative skills of their employees.

Creativity technique trainers note that creativity is not a talent but a frame of mind. This means it can be formed, improved, or changed with certain techniques or coaching

man working on white board

3. Collaboration

Collaboration skills preserve their honorary third place on our list. To our mind, effective collaboration for remote teams requires a whole set of collaboration skills.

Collaboration is about bringing different people together for the sake of a common goal. However, it may be quite difficult to implement when people are not on the same page.

Hiring for collaboration skills may be a complex task as well. We would advise managers to pay particular attention to the skills within the collaboration set, such as one-mindedness, communication, organisation, and long-term thinking.

4. Persuasion 

Our fourth position remains within the communication skill set. How often do you need to persuade others to do something? We bet this situation comes up often. Some people can do it almost effortlessly while others need to fall back on the power of their position to feel confident.

According to Kurt Mortensen’s research, a successful persuader is good at a wide range of skills, starting with high emotional intelligence and self-esteem all the way up to good listening and communication skills. These skills are crucial for becoming an influencer. Just don’t forget that persuasion skills can be learned like any others.

5. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence finishes up our top five skills list. The ability to understand, correctly use and manage your emotions makes you a good team player or a compassionate leader, as it helps you to build relationships and succeed in achieving goals.

It’s well-known that the smartest people are not always the most successful. High IQ is not enough to set goals and achieve them. Emotional intelligence skills may be learned at any time with self-management, self and social awareness and relationship management serving as the basics to learn.


6. Focus (as a bonus)

We decided to add one more skill, highly esteemed by Forbes experts, which indeed proved to be in high demand this year – being able to focus. 

The ability to focus on your tasks and goals is key to staying on track, but it isn’t always easy. Being under pressure of quarantine restrictions and working from home can lead to numerous distractions.

Mentally blocking from these distractions is an ability that will serve you well in many situations. Take a moment to breathe in, concentrate on one thing at a time, and try to preserve this feeling of calm as long as you can.

2020 has been a year that made numerous employees face a remote working environment. Many found it a great option and see it as the only way forward for future careers. These people likely discovered themselves having a perfect set of soft skills for remote working and will continue to develop them.

So there we have it – a look back at 2020 and a re-imagining of the top in-demand skills for now and the foreseeable future. For sure the soft skills mentioned here are important for any job, but they are especially crucial for the remote working environment we’re likely to experience moving forward. 

If you’re looking to improve any of these skills to enhance your career, you might find it helpful to work with a coach. Learn more about career coaching and find a coach to support you. 

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Written by Erika Rykun
Erika Rykun is a copywriter and content marketer at WikiJob.
Written by Erika Rykun
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