As more of Gen Z move into the working world or progress with their early careers, many are keen to boost their odds by acquiring new skills. But in a widely uncertain economic landscape, which are the skills that should be focused on primarily?
To tackle this question, top voices on LinkedIn, such as Cel Amade, Izzy Prior, Erifili Gounari, and Joe Brailsford, provide insights on the types of skills Gen Z need to succeed in their careers.
Statistically, Gen Z are driven when it comes to progressing themselves in their careers, data from LinkedIn shows that 87% are looking to train in skills relating to their role or one they wish to move into, compared to 74% of the general workforce. However, ambition is only the start and knowing where to focus this mindset is where things will truly begin to shine.
With the next generation of jobs seeing a stark uptick in Internet-based or entrepreneurial roles, what’s the one thing young people need most to succeed in such an environment? Erifili Gounari, Founder & CEO of The Z Link, explores this approach. “I cannot stress enough how big of a difference it can make if you’re driven to take initiative and just *do* things, as a young professional that’s just starting to enter the workforce.
“Be a self-starter and just start putting yourself/your product/your thoughts out there.”
This mindset encourages young people to give daunting new things a go, if you succeed, excellent, if not, you can learn from your failures. This is something which rang true with the 19-year-old CEO of Sellix, Daniele Servadei, and a skill that is often overlooked. Almost all successful entrepreneurs started somewhere, often this somewhere was a leap of faith.
On the flipside, Rachel Allison, Founder of Axe & Saw, believes that whilst hopping into ambitions like freelancing early on has its place, nothing beats the tried and test route of experience above all else. “As a seasoned professional in the industry, I believe that experience is a crucial ingredient for success. It enables us to understand the nuances, challenges, and opportunities within our fields, helping us become better strategists, creators, and problem solvers.
“Once this step is skipped, it’s bloody hard to play catch-up later down the line,” she says.
This experience comes in multiple forms, offering a wide array of learning opportunities that can provide young people with valuable workplace skills. Being able to listen to and digest the advice of senior colleagues, investing your time into learning your craft, mentorship, networking, chances to ask questions, and opening career opportunities are all par for the course when it comes to work experience and valuable skills to pick up on your career path.
Izzy Prior, Founder of Spark, touts the ‘soft skills’ practised on the day-to-day as some of the most crucial skills Gen Z can pick up on, noting that there is often a naïve expectation that hard skills will carry you the entire way. To Prior, the most crucial ‘soft skills’ are: “Adaptability, communication skills, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.
“Cultivating these skills will not only help Gen Z workers to thrive in current roles, but it’ll also equip them for life.”
Cel Amade, Mindset & Confidence Keynote Speaker for Young People, attributes her success to self-belief and self-awareness, putting these two skills as some of the most beneficial aspects a young person can have when approaching a new career path.
Amade explains: “There was a time in my life when I didn’t believe in my own strengths. I was constantly waiting for permission to become the next best version of myself when I had to do was believe in myself from the inside out first.
“If you’re starting your career this year, self-belief and self-awareness can give you a competitive edge in this next generation of jobs.
“Why? Because you will no longer seek validation from others and will believe that your career path is possible.”
To expand on her previous point, Gounari put forward a few crucial skills she believes to be the most important for Gen Z workers to bring into their new places of work.
Digital literacy is a ‘must-have’ according to Gounari. With the digital age well and truly upon us being able to work with technology and navigate all the tech tools which are constantly developing is now a necessity. Having these skills before ending the world of work is a huge plus, as well as the ability to adapt and expand upon them.
Collaboration was another skill that Gounari put heavy emphasis on, saying that “the first thing I look for [when hiring] is people that seem like they can work easily with anyone; they’re approachable, easy to talk to, and open-minded.” Being a collaborative individual can often make up for lacking areas, the ability to connect with others, being easy to work with, and being eager to learn are admirable traits for a young person to have.
Finally, adaptability to diverse work environments has never been more important. Since the pandemic, the world has been a mishmash of hybrid approaches to the workplace, some have gone digital, some have scrapped certain aspects of work, and others have remained largely the same. “New Gen Z workers that are able to thrive in a multitude of different work environments, like fully remote, asynchronous, hybrid or in-person, will find navigating the workspace much easier,” says Gounari.
Taking these skills into account can help Gen Z not only prepare for work, but integrate quickly, and build a career for themselves sooner than they think.