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Curious about the future of work, your job security or new industries to jump into? Here is what you need to know:

According to the World Economic Forum, in 2020, 35% of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will not be so relevant, which calls for new talent, skillset and new ways of managing people, execution, and collaboration in the workforce.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is happening now, many people will continue to leave their fulltime jobs to create new streams of income, create new products and there will be a growing number of freelancers and independent consultants in Africa just like elsewhere in the world.

According to Payoneer, Africa holds 10.1% of the world’s freelancers – and this will continue to grow. An increasing number of companies and small businesses in Africa are choosing and adapting to this new model of employment and contracting as it offers excellent talent, and value for money.

But what does this mean to you as an employee, a creative freelancer or an employer? The way forward is to adapt to the growth revolution, acquire new skills relevant to the market, learn to use new technologies and understand how to hire the right talent! Here are 6 skills that can help you stand out in 2020 and beyond.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Yes, that’s right; problem-solving is on top of the list and here is why! Without a problem, there is no job, (and) there is absolutely no customer. As a creative, you get hired to solve customer problems, and the same applies to any other kind of business.

Before a customer makes a decision to purchase, they experience the need first; either to fix a problem, look fashionable or improve their productivity and efficiency.

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Photo by Noah Dominic Silvio on Unsplash

Let’s take a quick look at technology and app development; the most successful apps are those that are solving customer problems; easing transport, ordering food easily, enabling swift payments, making communication easier, etc.

As we think of starting new businesses, create new applications and platforms, you need to think big and understand which problem you are trying to solve. Without a problem, there is no customer!

New Communication Skills

Of course, this sounds obvious but it’s not. The fourth industrial revolution calls for a somewhat different style of communication. Africa will continue to experience increased growth of advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

There is an increased number of email communication within and outside of almost every company, remote collaboration and of course a rising demand for two-way communication with clients either online or support centers.

Even though large corporations are moving to new technology, robots and artificial intelligence; human interaction when it comes to managing communication, customer support and managing the robots will not completely fade away soon.

Copywriting & Email Marketing

As we experience a shift in (on) how companies are businesses are interacting with their customers, there is tremendous growth and need for copywriting services.

The number of email users worldwide is forecasted to rise to 2.9 billion by the end of 2019, and according to HubSpot, 86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating (or) doing business.

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Photo by Webaroo.com.au

This means there will be an increasing demand for professionals, creatives, and freelancers who are well skilled to write influential content for either email marketing, social media, or for company blog posts.

If you are looking at jumping into this, there has been no better time than now. Crafting content is another way to position yourself as a brand of influence even when you are working for another company. The benefits are limitless. Content is the new gold in this digital era, craft it and fly!

Research

You will be surprised to learn how many people in Africa dive into businesses without doing enough research about the market, demand, profit margins, expenses and the extra skills needed to facilitate execution of the idea. Big mistake! Not every nice business idea is profitable, just because it’s exciting doesn’t mean its profitable.

On a personal level, I think your passion may not necessarily be your job or career, you can keep it as a hobby if it is not profitable enough.) Even though you’re passionate about something you want to do, it’s very important to do enough research before going all in and quitting your fulltime job to peruse your passion.

As a freelancer, creative or aspiring entrepreneur, it is always important to take time and gather enough information before going all in. Start small, think big.

On the other side; if you’re working for someone or a company, doing research won’t only make you be informed about your employer’s industry, but will also open doors for you to be promoted to managerial positions, considering the vast knowledge you will have acquired.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Sorry guys, the old secretive creative days are over. Yes, clients now want to be involved in everything and every process. Many clients know what they want and love being involved in the creative process.

The more flexible you’re with your clients, the happier they feel. Customers feel good when they are involved in the process, and when they are updated about the progress; this is why now a creative brief is a very important tool to have before you start the execution of any project. Its import to understand what the client is looking for and what problems they want to fix using your service.

Photo by: Christina @ wocintechchat.com

On the other side, employers and companies have adopted a new style of office setup; from the traditional enclosed separate offices to more open, collaborative and co-working spaces. Encouraging employees to work with peers, respect each other and scheduling regular team meetings and capacity building events. Its teamwork everywhere.

Developing a Personal Brand

The future is uncertain, things change, you can lose your job, or your business can collapse. But how easily can you bounce back? develop new strategies or get yourself a new job. Claim your space & position yourself early enough).

Whether you are working for a company or self-employed; it is very important to document your achievement and put together your portfolio so that people can have a reference to your work and skill set.

Photo by: William Hook

Putting yourself out exposes you to more opportunities. For example, having a personal website or blog is social proof that you’re passionate about what you’re doing and might be exciting for your future employer or client.

It is important to understand branding well and what it means; Branding is not only your logo or just poster that you create for your services, it all starts from what kind of content you produce and how people feel about it, and most importantly being consistent in what you choose to do and how you communicate!

Honestly, a lot is changing, new business ideas are created every day and thus calling for new skillsets. This is just a portion of what is coming up in 2020, and if you have other skills that you think will be important in the business and job market, share with us in the comment section!

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