Five skills that employers will be looking for in 2019

A good grasp of digitalisation, soft skills and informal management are amongst the qualifications employers who hire Djøf members will be looking for in 2019, according to two major career-training providers.

Be authentic. Have good interpersonal skills. Know your own job backwards and forwards, but be well versed about what the rest of the company is doing. Be adaptable. Be curious. And don’t forget to smile

Employers demand a lot of their employees. That’s something they know all about at Djøf Kurser og Uddannelse, which offers career training and educational programmes for the union’s members, and Mannaz, a firm that specialises in offering career-training courses for professionals.

Djøfbladet spoke with Lena Meyer-Karlsen, the head of Djøf Kurser og Uddannelse, and Martin T. Andersen, the commercial and development director for Mannaz, about just what skills employers will be looking for in 2019.

Tech skills

One trend both see is a growing need for people with social-science degrees to be comfortable working with technology.

"The number of technology-related courses we offer has been increasing, and that will continue in 2019,” Meyer-Karlsen says. “Our members are increasingly finding they need a better understanding of technology; they need to be able to understand the new reality created by digitialisation and how they can contribute to it. And they need to know how they can use the ever-increasing amount of technology in their work. We will all need to understand the demands that increasing digitalisation places on us if we want to be able to keep up.”

Andersen agrees.

"For a while, people were the big focus of our courses,” he says. “Now, we see a transition to a technology-oriented focus, and questions like, ‘How do I adjust to this new reality?’ or, ‘How do I act in a way that allows me to make best use of new technology?’”

Know a little about a lot

Meyer-Karlsen expects that another trend will be towards employers making more demands on employees and having higher expectations of them.

"We need to have expertise in more areas than before,” she says. “A lot of our members are specialists, but you can’t get by on expertise alone nowadays. You still need to specialise in your area, but you do need to at least be familiar with a lot of other areas. Take solicitors, for example. Increasingly, it’s not good enough just to be a legal expert. You need to be able to navigate situations that require you to understand and interact with corporate issues.”

Soft skills

Soft skills is the latest business trend to be embraced by Danish managers. A Djøf study that looked at thousands of job postings to see how the requirements members are expected to meet have changed over time found that, between 2007 and 2017, there was an enormous increase in the emphasis placed on social skills, such as the ability to collaborate with others.

"The trend is towards employers placing a higher priority on soft skills, where previously the focus was on how much of an expert you were in your field,” Andersen says. “Today, though, it’s no longer enough to be good at your job, you also need to be good at doing your job together with other people.”

Informal management

As businesses have moved towards less hierarchical organisational structures, a lot of work, according to Meyer-Karlsen, has become project-oriented. That requires employees to be able to work as informal managers, placing them in situations in which they face many of the same challenges formal managers do – if not more. That has resulted in overwhelming interest for Djøf’s seminars about informal management.                                        

Andersen says Mannaz has experienced a similar interest in its informal-management courses and expects to expand its offerings on the topic this year.

On-the-job existentialism

In addition to looking to improve their tech and social skills, employees are also likely to start looking inward in 2019, according to Andersen.   

“We find that younger employees expect their manager and their co-workers to be more authentic and more compassionate,” he says. “People are looking for a much deeper and more meaningful experience, so we expect that our courses about existential management, mindfulness and meditation will be popular this year.”

The quick and the documented

According to Meyer-Karlsen there is a divergence between what public and private-sector employees are looking to get out of career training.

“Training that gives ECTS credit is still highly valued in the public sector, and we see that reflected in enrolment in our certification programmes, which people often use in their long-term career development. In the public sector there’s a much greater emphasis on documenting your skills and showing your qualifications,” she says. “In the private sector it’s more important to have a set of skills that can be used in a given situation in order to achieve results quickly.”


(Published by Djøfbladet. Originally published in Danish).