A person's hand is placing wooden blocks in a loading bar shape, moving from 2020 to 2021.
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Here’s how we’ll (probably) work in 2021

18 Dec 2020

Learn more about some of the skills, jobs and trends set to shape working life next year.

Many of us are looking forward to waving goodbye to 2020. But before we go, let’s lock down some of the lessons we’ve learned this year and look ahead to what we might expect from work in 2021.

As director of people and organisation at PwC Ireland, Ger Twomey, said this week: “We won’t return to the way things were before.”

Fresh starts

Will you be looking for a new job next year? The impacts of the pandemic may have left you feeling stuck in your current position. If that’s the case, Hays’ Chris Dottie shared some actions you can take to get moving in the right direction.

If you’re sure you want to move on, there are plenty of opportunities around the country at the moment. In this week alone, we saw new roles announced in Cork, Dublin and Limerick, as well as the launch of a new cybersecurity programme in Cork for recent graduates.

It’s also worth checking out what Hays’ James Milligan believes will be the five hottest tech jobs in 2021. From change management to DevOps, there might be something in there for you.

Maybe you don’t want to leave your line of work, but just change how you do it. According to Payoneer’s Iain McNicoll, it could be the right time to flex your freelancing skills as Covid has uncovered greater opportunities in the gig economy. Meanwhile Prof Andrew Burke, dean of Trinity Business School, looked at how the gig economy could evolve in the future.

Skills, skills, skills

The importance of upskilling and continuous learning has been cemented in our minds this year. To help you narrow down which areas to focus on, CV-building platform Zety published a list of hard and soft skills that recruiters could be looking for next year. It includes teamwork, emotional intelligence, customer service, communication and graphic design.

We also highlighted seven different skills set to be in high demand as we leave 2020 behind. Teams across all industries have had to be adaptable and amenable to change this year, and this looks likely to continue as in 2021.

For industry insight into the hottest skills for next year, we spoke to EY Ireland’s technology transformation lead, Jefferson Cowhig. He’s confident that “the skill of learning itself” will be critical, highlighting the importance of an agile mindset and a willingness to try new things.

Possible perks of work in 2021

The pandemic also brought a shift to employees’ priorities. Flexibility has become more important than ever but, at the same time, striking the right work-life balance has become more difficult. That’s why the Government is seeking public consultation on a new code of practice around people’s right to disconnect.

General partner at SemperVirens Venture Capital, Allison Baum Gates, sees a number of major shifts in rewards and compensation on the horizon, such as more transparency around pay equity, more contract work over full-time compensation, internet subsidies, childcare support and four-day weeks.

With all of this in mind, we must not forget to leave communities that are less privileged behind. In fact, some companies have responded to the pandemic by giving their staff unlimited volunteer days to help their preferred charities during work hours. To learn more, check out how these eight businesses plan to continue prioritising corporate social responsibility and giving back next year.

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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