What are the most in-demand job skills in 2020? And which skills will EHS professionals need in order to stay ahead of the curve?
Based on job outlook statistics, industry trends, and our own insights, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 job skills you’ll need in 2020 and beyond.
Some of these skills, like virtual collaboration, didn’t exist 20 years ago or looked very different. Other skills — such as leadership, problem solving, and emotional intelligence — are as relevant today as they were several decades ago.
Top Job Skills for EHS Professionals in 2023
1. Data literacy
Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, and use data. Half of organizations lack sufficient AI and data literacy skills to achieve business value, according to Gartner.
Today, interpreting and communicating with data is no longer the job of data scientists and technology experts. Every employee needs to have a basic ability to ‘speak data’ in order to achieve success with big data. That also includes being able to use data tools, such as dashboards, analytics, and automation.
2. Complex problem-solving
According to the World Economic Forum complex problem-solving is the #1 most important job skill for the future. But what does that mean, exactly?
Complex problems are those that are poorly defined, don’t have an obvious solution, or have more than one possible solution. EHS professionals face these kinds of problems every day, such as how to increase sustainability, improve safety performance, and reduce costs. With so many challenges, honing your problem solving skills can make a huge difference in your career.
3. Virtual collaboration
As companies have become more globally connected, they need employees who can work as part of a remote team. Virtual collaboration refers to working together using digital tools to communicate and carry out tasks. Being able to communicate clearly over email, for example, will help you avoid misunderstandings and collaborate effectively no matter where you are in the world.
4. Emotional intelligence
In the age of computers and robots, strong people skills are an increasingly rare and desirable commodity. Experts agree that emotional intelligence — the ability to recognize and manage your own and others’ emotions — will be one of the most sought-after skills in 2020 and beyond. Not only does emotional intelligence improve your interpersonal relationships, research suggests that people with a high “EQ” tend to be more successful and earn more money — regardless of their industry or location.
Some people might think of emotional intelligence as a personality trait, but it’s actually a set of skills that can be learned. While some people are born with a naturally high “EQ”, anyone can improve their emotional intelligence with practice.
5. Leadership skills
Another “soft skill” companies will be looking for in 2023 and beyond is leadership. But even if you don’t plan to apply for a new job this year, having great leadership skills can be a huge-game changer. Being able to lead others effectively can make the difference between your team’s success and failure. Research shows that good leaders have a direct impact on productivity, employee engagement, and profitability.
6. Environmental management
On a more practical level, knowledge of environmental management will be an important core competency. According to career expert Zippia, it’s the top EHS manager skill today based on the percentage of resumes it appeared on.
More and more companies are choosing to implement ESG initiatives, whether to satisfy compliance obligations or as part of a voluntary initiative. A huge part of this will be the 'E' in ESG, which stands for 'environment'. As a result, these companies will be looking for employees who can plan and manage environmental programs, monitor performance, drive continuous improvement, and act as a liason to facility managers, employees, and suppliers.
7. Compliance risk management
As new ESG regulations emerge, compliance risk management remains a key skill for EHS professionals. Being able to stay on top of regulatory changes is particularly important to help companies navigate the maze of shifting rules and mitigate regulatory risks. Similarly, building effective relationships with regulators will help companies stay on solid footing.
Update: This article was originally published February 2020 and was updated January 6, 2023 for freshness.