Miami, FL—While much discussion centers around “STEM” subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) in school, there is a fast-growing demand for “soft skills” such as creativity and emotional intelligence as technology grows in the future.
I am going to refer to Preferred Jewelers International once again. It is one of the most “creative” programs in our industry, especially with independent jewelers. With this being said, the success of the Preferred program really started when we began to approach the program with more imagination and creativity. We didn’t take this approach in the beginning, so it didn’t work the way we all thought it would at the start. It was too structural, too corporate. It had to be massaged, embraced, and have creativity behind it to make it take off.
As I research more and more, I have found that creativity will be one of the top three job skills most in demand, along with complex problem-solving and critical thinking, in the coming years. On lists of the “most essential” job skills, Creativity moved from 10th place in 2015 to third place by 2020! Two of the top skills to develop most for the future are emotional intelligence and flexibility in the workplace.
Negotiation (which is what I have been doing for the last 38 years) dropped from fifth position in 2015 to ninth in 2020. This is mostly because technology is growing so fast that the art of negotiation will now be influenced more and more by technology and data. Specific negotiating skills will vary by industry but by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skills and overall social skills such as persuasion, emotional intelligence, and teaching/training will be in higher demand, along with technical skills such as programming equipment operation and control. But it’s very important to note that technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.
Below is the World Economic Forum's list of the top 10 skills that will be important in the workplace in 2020, and a comparison to its list for 2015. But I also will tell you that what has really launched Preferred is the creativity and the attention that our Preferred Concierge, Laurie Miller gives to retailers and consumers alike. Replicated in your store, this is the way to more success and excellent clientelling. Being able to add creativity and having a creative thinker in your organization influences everyone. In our office, Laurie and I get creative while my husband Joe brings in the voice of reason to rope us in. But when all those energies and mindsets merge, it guarantees success!
Top 10 skills needed in 2020
In 2015, the most sought after skills were a little different:
I find change very interesting when it comes to any industry. I find it very exciting and I look forward to seeing our industry approaching things with more creativity. Not just in designs or merchandise, but in the way we differentiate ourselves and create experiences for our employees and consumers who walk through our doors. --Andie
Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry. Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.