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How the demand for digital skills has transformed in the COVID era


The impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns on our economy has resulted in greater demand for digital skills as companies seek more flexible, experienced, and agile professionals. Over the past few months, it has become all the more important for businesses of all sizes to adapt their digital output during these challenging times. Our latest report on the impact of COVID-19 on hiring found that 45% of marketing and digital departments moved budget into digital disciplines. There’s no denying that the digital space is fiercely competitive and given the global pandemic, many businesses will need to re-focus and prioritise on the key digital skills.

Tech Republic has predicted that 2021 will be the year that most businesses invest heavily in a complete digital presence. Digitisation is growing across all sectors at a rapid rate, and in recent years, has emerged as a key driver of growth for the economy. Digitisation is hugely important for companies as it allows them to work more efficiently and at maximum productivity. COVID-19 has changed the working world forever and businesses must capitalise on the growth of digital. Here are some of the ways the demand for skills has changed, and what leaders need to do to build a strong digital team.

The new consumer

Consumer behaviour has radically transformed in this digital era. It’s now more important than ever to understand the needs of the modern consumer. Therefore, skills such as software development and UX will be key moving forward as companies continue to provide the best digital platforms for customers. These platforms need to have great user-experience and be built with the target audience in mind. Today, customers expect relevant information as quickly as possible, so creating digital experiences that are commercial and user-friendly is key. And businesses must embrace technology to deliver a consistent customer experience. Digital leaders need to have a wealth of expertise at their disposal. For example, there’s always a strong need for front-end developers who can implement complex, technical changes to improve platforms. In fact, there’s never been a better time to become a full stack developer. The pandemic has pushed technology forward, which means developers are even more important. With the increase in data and cloud software, candidates who have expertise in both front-end and back-end development remain highly sought-after. It’s a flexible role that can bring digital teams great value when it comes to building websites. Digital acquisition and transformation specialists are also paramount for companies. These professionals are skilled in helping businesses create value for their customers. Digital is becoming increasingly complex and companies need to be able to spot trends and predict customer behaviour. Those who can leverage digital technology for businesses will be in high demand.  


It’s never been more important to understand how your customers think and behave online, so the need for analytics and data is essential. Collecting data is hugely beneficial for any company, especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic. As more companies look to forecast the impact of their finances and plan for the future, the demand for insights and analytical skills will only increase. Data has become a huge driver for businesses and professionals with Python data analysis skills will be able to position themselves as stand-out candidates.

In uncertain times, data experts and digital business analysts can provide raw insights to improve decision making. As we move forward, businesses will need to hire professionals who have a deep understanding of data and be able to map the impact of decisions based on data analytics. Mobile data management is also becoming hugely important as mobile usage increases. Technology companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have long been key players in the digital space, and have shown the importance of mobile solutions through their products. Businesses should also focus on hiring analytics professionals on a contract basis. Contractors provide niche skills and can complete projects within a fixed timeframe. As a result of COVID-19, businesses are having to make hard decisions, so employers should focus on building teams who can identify problems based on facts and data. 

Digital Management

Even before the pandemic, the working world was rapidly changing. Now with excesses of competition in the COVID-19 era, there’s an increased demand for digital project managers. This also includes digital product managers, which involves dealing with product planning and launch. In this competitive market, streamlining projects has become critical. Digital project managers need to be data-driven and strategic. A digital project manager creates effective plans based on a company’s goals, and the best candidates often have experience in methodologies such as Waterfall, Scrum, and Agile. The impact of COVID-19 has seen the rise of remote project management. As we move forward, it’s vital companies focus on candidates who can take responsibility for entire projects. 

Digital creativity

With lockdown disrupting regular work schedules, digital creativity has become an in-demand skill. As a result of the pandemic, businesses and brands everywhere have been forced to scramble to find new creative solutions, and adapt their work practices to comply with the new world. In this way, the demand for creative skills has shifted completely, as businesses seek out new tools and fresh ways of telling their brand stories.

The pandemic has driven more opportunity for creatives to introduce forward-thinking ideas and adopt new channels, to stand out from the noise. And since many people are now working from home, there’s a greater need for professionals who are comfortable using digital tools, like graphic design software and the Adobe suite. Businesses always need compelling websites to entice customers, particularly in challenging times. With demand high, those who can create effective web pages and user experiences will have plenty of opportunity for career growth. In the coming years, there will likely be further disruption as digital leaders compete to use creativity to push the boundaries.

Are you looking to expand your digital team?

The COVID-19 pandemic will leave its mark on the working world. Even in a global crisis, however, there are still opportunities for businesses and marketers to thrive. Digital interims can be a great option when planning digital transformation, whilst digital contractors can be brought in to execute specific projects, such as launching a new website. Contractors provide niche skills and can complete projects within a fixed timeframe whilst employers get the benefit of bringing in expertise on a project basis. Digital contractors can be a great option when launching a new website or during the planning phase. As a result of COVID-19, businesses are having to make hard decisions, so employers should focus on building teams who can identify problems based on facts and data.

At EMR, we’re dedicated to recruiting the most talented professionals into businesses across all the major sectors. We’re a specialist marketing, digital and communications recruitment agency, so we’re well placed to provide you with top talent. If you would like to find out more, take a look at our hiring advice articles or contact us to speak to a member of our team.

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