Brand Insights

Essential Digital Skills - For the Future of Work in a Digital Age


The skills required to succeed at work have changed over the past 5 years. Those looking to build a career that is safe for the long-term will need to meet the challenges of a quickly shifting marketplace and rapid advances in digital technologies. The skills that many have gained through their current work experience may no longer impress at interview, as employers increasingly look for candidates with the skills to keep up with consumer demand, and lead them into the digital age.


A short exploration of five of the most important skills as companies begin to embrace new techniques and processes, and undergo digital transformation. The example skills discussed here are informed by LinkedIn's fastest-growing job titles over the past five years, and the impact those can have within a company.

LinkedIn has published its list of the 25 fastest-growing job titles over the past five years, and it comes as no surprise that digital, tech, data and machine learning skills all feature across many of the roles.

Digital skills are in demand

Technology has advanced a huge amount over the past 5 years and continues to advance at break-neck speed. This has led to these skills being more in demand, as tech has become more integrated into organisations. Demand for workers with strong technical skills will continue to increase. Employees will need to develop new skills to stay relevant in the marketplace and fill the skills gap for the kind of roles LinkedIn has identified: Cloud Engineer, Data Science Manager, Machine Learning Engineer, and Product Analyst.

Five sought after skills for the future of work

With workplace trends shifting to recognise a rise in the use of and dependence on technology, the skills valued by employers are also shifting. Transferable skills and soft skills like written communication, problem solving, teamwork and leadership will continue to feature on almost every job description. 

But alongside these, there will be new skills that be more commonly featured as standard. It's these often hard skills that will denote working life in the digital age. Here are the most relevant skills for a future-proofed business:

  1. Data analysis and management

Artificial intelligence and machine learning automate repetitive tasks, saving time and freeing up employees for more complex tasks. While AI can process and analyse vast amounts of data, and provide important business insights, these can only inform better decision-making if there are the skills within the business to interpret that data.

  1. Digital marketing and social media

Having a good product is only half the battle. If no one knows your product exists, it’s not going to sell. Having the skills to use the ever-advancing digital and social channels to promote a business and build a brand have become highly prized skills that will continue to be required in every company that wants to grow its audience or attract the best talent.

  1. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design

Great UX can make or break a company’s relationship with their customers. It can be the difference between making a sale or losing a potential customer to a competitor. People with the skills and knowledge to design better products and enhance the overall user experience are going to be highly valued by employers.

  1. Project management and Agile methodologies

In an age where consumer needs and expectations are constantly shifting, the ability to be agile is essential to survival. Agile digital transformation emphasises flexibility, collaboration, and the ability to respond quickly to change. Those who have experience in managing projects this way will be sought after for their ability to help companies pivot and keep up with their customers’ demands.

  1. Communication and collaboration

Communication skills have always been vital within successful organisations and coherent teams. Even as technology continues to transform the way we work, the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with others will remain important. In fact, it’s likely to become more critical, as these skills will set great employees apart from the technological solutions now available.

Active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution are all important to helping a company run smoothly and connecting with customers and their pain points.

Digital skills for the digital age 

LinkedIn’s list of job titles shows quite clearly that the skills required in the digital age reflect the increasing importance of technology and data in the modern workforce.

There is a skills gap in this increasingly digital and data-driven marketplace, and employers are beginning to realise the impact not having the right talent is having on their bottom line. The good news is that’s driving the need for workers who can effectively leverage these tools to improve outcomes.

At Northell, we can bring those skills into your team and have a lasting impact by creating a digital framework that fits your business, ultimately upskilling your in-house colleagues and ensuring long-term, sustainable change.