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Top 20 business skills in 2020

BY: SGI|27 January 2020
BLOG| My future career, Short Course, Micro Module

The year is marching forward, and it is almost February already. Have you decided the next steps for your career?

You may be starting the year in a new job or be looking at your team and realising that it will be time for key performance indicators and personal development plans soon.

This week we offer an insight into top skills in the workplace for 2020. This may help you if you are looking to get a new career, improve your skills and remain job relevant. 

Forbes indicates that in 2020 the top skills that companies and individuals need to be focusing on include

1. Data Literacy

Data literacy for managers is a crucial component of getting more value from data. All of our jobs are changing, and data plays a much more significant role in our daily decision making. We must equip ourselves with Data Science for Managers to understand the concepts inherent in data science.

2. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is facilitated by a keen understanding of the full context within which and individual operates. The National Certificate in General Management promotes critical thinking through modules in Making Big Picture Decisions, Creativity, Best Practices, Negotiations and Deciphering Financial Codes that all lead to critical thinking.

3. Tech savviness

We are all exposed to new tech every day, but how do we manage knowledge and promote innovation in our organisation and manage change in this context. Data Science for managers also supports this new direction of thinking and talks about the changing role of managers and boards.

4. Adaptability and flexibility

Organisational change is inevitable when there is such a lot of societal change. Organisations do not always have the time to organise expensive forums and training sessions that require many people to fly in from multiple locations. High costs have shifted the training landscape toward online learning. Through online learning, we have more time to support job requirements and also make training a lot more relevant to the exact situation in which a new or existing employee right now.

To better manage change, there are relevant modules on managing change, making changes (being a reformer) and following a systems approach in the management development programme and National certificate in general management.

One area in which companies can benefit from online learning is through a programme in Effective Directorships. This saves time and allows new and existing directors to learn about their responsibilities and how to effectively manage their board duties. 

5. Creativity

It may be surprising that creativity is one of the top courses that senior executives are attending at business schools across the world. These programmes are often coupled with design thinking to enable people to think differently about how to innovate within structure.

We have a great local option to complete an accredited programme in Creativity and Innovation that is facilitated by top experts in both creativity and innovation.

6. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence has been cited to improve job performance not only in jobs that have high levels of interaction but also in contributing to individual effectiveness. It turns out that if we have more emotional intelligence, we feel better about ourselves, and we have a higher tendency to help others, which increases work performance.

7. Cultural intelligence and diversity

Both managing talent and managing teams require us to understand diversity and be able to harness it more effectively. This accredited online programme helps managers to get the most out of the contributions of the whole team (Being lord of the dance – Diverse workforce).

8. Leadership skills

Leaders need to understand what leadership is, what it is to lead towards the future, making big picture decisions, how to get their message across and also doing so while practicing emotional intelligence. Luckily this is all available in one course for R 7,100. 

9. Judgement and complex decision making

We are always in the process of judging and evaluating different alternative and the modules below supporting each of these in different contexts. Look out for the modules on Financial Analysis, performance standards, negotiations, risk management, strategy and planning and if you are serious about data driven decision making then you must do Data Science for Managers.

10. Collaboration

Leadership and Managing Teams develops a great set of skills that are essential to foster collaboration in a team and organisational culture.


You need to be in a process of life-long learning, and this year is going to test us all to shape up and practice more intense skills. If we look at the key trends that Forbes is predicting we must realise that we are all becoming a little bit more technical, need to work better with people and organise ourselves more.

If you are not busy with a course right now, you need to be - because someone else is, and they are eyeing your job. 

If you are studying right now, you need to look towards the next opportunity and this guideline may help you decide where to look next. 

(Forbes – Bernard Marr, The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking For In 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/10/28/the-10-most-important-job-skills-every-company-will-be-looking-for-in-2020/)

(Keri A. Pekaar, Dimitri van der Linden, Arnold B. Bakker & Marise Ph. Born (2017) Emotional intelligence and job performance: The role of enactment and focus on others’ emotions, Human Performance, 30:2-3, 135-153, DOI: 10.1080/08959285.2017.1332630)

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