What skills do the next generation of Australians need to succeed in business?


The global labour market is one that is in a perpetual state of flux. Trends shift, technology changes, and it’s easy to find yourself playing catchup if you’re not paying close attention to news within your industry. This is nothing new, as trends have always forced those from previous generations to acclimate to new systems and advancements, but in the 21st century, it has truly felt like things are changing by the day.

We live in the digital age, after all, with many people having to adapt their skill sets to systems they are entirely unfamiliar with, whilst those who are freshly entering the field have the advantage of being born acclimated to these types of tech. However, just because those who have been born into the information age may have the advantage of being well-versed in modern technology, that doesn’t mean they have the skills needed to succeed in their chosen fields.

The heightened levels of tech literacy in the broader business community means that these skills, while valuable, are becoming far more common. Therefore, when it comes to specialist skills that are going to set a candidate above the rest, the path isn’t always quite as clear as you may think.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the skills that will be required by the next generation of Australian workers and see how you can maintain your competitiveness as the business world continues to evolve.

What Do We Consider Emerging or Trending Skills?

Before we get into the specifics, it’s first important to understand what constitutes an emerging skill and a trending skill, as both are similar but distinct enough that they require their own explanations.

Trending Skills

These are skills that have always been a part of a field or industry but have recently risen to be more prominent and valued due to circumstances or changes within the market. For example, if a certain variety of cooking becomes more popular in restaurants across Australia, then those who excel at providing this particular cooking style will be valued for it. This would be a trending skill, as it’s not new to the industry, but it is newly valued due to circumstances.


Emerging Skills

Emerging skills are more rare, and act as a subsection of trending skills. Whilst emerging skills are also skills that have increased in value, unlike trending skills, these are skills that did not necessarily exist in the industry prior. One obvious example of this is disease prevention in the wake of the global pandemic. As business owners acclimated to the new restrictions, and businesses began returning to office spaces, the need for business managers with skills in preventing illness and maintaining standards for hygiene became valuable for businesses looking to avoid the spread of infection.

So, with that in mind, what skills are likely to be most valuable in the future, and what will you likely need to learn to set yourself apart in your field?

Disease & Infection Control – Emerging Skill

We mentioned this earlier as an emerging skill, but it is certainly worth repeating in more detail here. The 2020s saw an incredible shift in expectations regarding hygiene and infection mitigation practices due to the pandemic, and this is looking to be a more permanent shift than many people initially thought. Anyone working in a field that involves interacting with others is going to require a strong understanding of basic health and safety protocols to ensure they are keeping themselves and their colleagues/customers safe during those interactions.

Data Analysis – Trending Skill

This is by no means a new skill, but it is certainly one that has gained newfound relevance as the business world shifts further into the digital age. It has been said that half the data collected ever has been collected in the past two years, and whilst this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it certainly feels true. We are more inundated with data in the business world than ever before, and just as Google has honed its algorithms, so too have the many tools that are used to track and analyse their findings.


This access to information has led to the widespread adoption of data analysis for businesses looking to beat out their competitors with more up-to-date looks into their industry. Because of this, the expectations of what it takes to compete have shifted, leading to data analysis skills being a near necessity for anyone in the digital field. Because of this, anyone getting their online MBA in Australia is likely to go through a considerable amount of data analytics information and skills to ensure that they are prepared for this big shift.

Social Media Literacy – Emerging Skill

For some of you, the idea that social media is something new as a skill in your field may seem a bit strange, but despite the fact that social media has become such a large part of our lives, the actual role of social media as a required skill for many employees is relatively new. For example, in the Australian Government’s National Skills Commission, the percentage of jobs in Child Care Centre management that required social media skills went up 16,411% between 2015 and 2020.

This may be an outlier in the sheer increase, but as for the increase existing at all, it is far from an isolated case. In the same report, social media skill-requiring jobs in Film and Video Editors went up by over 1000%, and this data is only up to 2020. With the post-lockdown world, we’re likely to see a considerable increase in these numbers in the years to come.


So, What Can We Take From This Data?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of skills, but it does showcase the fact that businesses are trending more towards digital skills, alongside the need for adequate medical knowledge. With the 2020s now well underway, it’s important to note that the expectations of the 2010s are beginning to become outdated. If the next generation is going to succeed, they need to adapt to this ever-shifting ecosystem of business, and so do the rest of us.