Skills in public speaking, presentation and navigating interpersonal relationships in the workplace were among the most sought after by Singapore professionals and new jobseekers in the past year, says new data from LinkedIn’s top 20 most popular courses in Singapore.
Beyond soft skills related to communications and critical thinking - which featured prominently on the list - the professional community in Singapore also leaned on building hard skills such as in Excel and programming, in particular, Python.
Singapore learners spent close to 600,000 hours on the courses last year, and were among the 7.3 million globally who enrolled in the most popular courses on LinkedIn in the past year on its educational platform, LinkedIn Learning, which offers 18,000 expert-led sessions. The number of learners was almost double that of the preceding year, indicating that more are building skills to future-proof their careers in a rapidly changing economic and business environment.
Businesses in Singapore are also moving towards a skills-first hiring approach, with research from LinkedIn’s 2021 Future of Talent report finding that more companies in Singapore prefer to hire candidates with transferable skills (31%), over traditional qualifiers like education (8%) and minimum years of experience (12%).
After two years of virtual working, Singapore professionals brush up face-to-face interaction skills.
Courses that help professionals communicate more efficiently and confidently feature prominently in this year’s list of top 20 courses, likely driven by their eagerness to re-calibrate for the nuances of in-office interactions. With Singapore gradually easing restrictions to in-office working arrangements over the past year, many have had to get accustomed to more in-person communication with their bosses, colleagues, clients and partners.
The impact of the pandemic on interpersonal communications at the workplace has been significant. While communication skills have always been regarded as a key competency for professionals across all industries, the pandemic has limited their ability to flex this muscle.
Among the top 20 most popular courses on LinkedIn over the past year, several fall under this category, such as Speaking Confidently and Effectively (ranked #3), and Interpersonal Communication (ranked #13). Beyond boosting their speaking and presentation skills, professionals in Singapore also looked for guidance on navigating workplace relationships, as seen from the popularity of courses such as How to be both Assertive and Likable (#12).
In contrast, last year’s list of most popular courses featured just one course related ato interpersonal communication within the top 10. Unsurprisingly, courses from the past two years that helped professionals adapt to work-from-home arrangements have fallen out of favour. For instance, Time Management: Working from Home, ranked third last year, dropped off the top 20 list.
In a landscape characterised by uncertainty, learners leaned on both hard and soft skills.
Soft skills in critical thinking also featured prominently among the most popular courses on LinkedIn Learning. These include strategic thinking (ranked #4), critical thinking for better judgement and decision-making (#7),and design thinking: understanding the process in #9.
Singapore learners also built up their technical skills in Excel Essential Training, which ranked as the top most popular course, alongside other sessions which trained their data analytics and programming know-how such as Learning Python (#6),
With macroeconomic conditions stoking fears of a global recession and a continued uncertain economic climate, professionals are equipping themselves with a combination of soft and hard skills to remain agile and relevant.
“The most popular courses on LinkedIn Learning shed light into the steadfast growth mindset of the Singapore LinkedIn community to future-proof themselves in today’s fast-evolving world of work. Globally, the skills needed for any particular role have been changing quickly over time, and our data tells us that members have been adapting and finding ways to stay competitive. With a more regular return to the workplace in Singapore, it is also good to see that many were navigating this re-adjustment by brushing up their interpersonal communication skills,” said Frank Koo, head of talent solutions, Asia Pacific, LinkedIn.
Interestingly, recent research from SkillsFuture Singapore on the in-demand skills for the future economy also identified interacting with others as one of the three clusters among critical core skills – or “skills to build other skills” – that are increasingly valued by employers, along with thinking critically, and staying relevant.
LinkedIn’s 2022 list of Most Popular Courses in Singapore looked into trends on the LinkedIn Learning platform, accessible to all LinkedIn users, from the period of 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.