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How do Dutch employees rank themselves on the key skills of the future?

How do Dutch employees rank themselves on the key skills of the future?

Written by:
Gregor Towers
Date created
October 4, 2021
Last updated:
June 20, 2024
5 min read
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Key takeaways

In a survey conducted on 1,065 Dutch employees – the annual Lepaya Skills Monitor – professionals rated themselves on 8 key skills that are necessary in order to continue their job well, now and in the future.

The eight key skills we examined during the Lepaya Skills Monitor are:

Collaboration & Influence
: e.g. collaboration, effective communication, empathy, conflict management, reliability​

Analytical Thinking
: e.g. problem-solving behaviour, prioritizing, making connections, data skills (such as data analysis)​

: e.g. coping with change, stress management, managing your energy​

Empowering Leadership
: e.g. having difficult conversations with colleagues, giving feedback, motivating others​

Taking Ownership
: e.g. taking initiative/direction, working on a project basis, taking action when circumstances are at the expense of the result, informing stakeholders, realistic plans and goals

: e.g. convey a vision to others clearly and engagingly, speak in a relaxed manner in front of an (online) group, use data to tell your story​

Intentional Learning
: e.g. growth mindset, lifelong learning, openness to feedback from others​

Diversity & Inclusion
: e.g. being aware of (unconscious) prejudices, having sincere and open conversations/communication in a way where everyone feels seen and understood

We are talking about the Power Skills, important future-proof competencies based on market needs, which require both soft and hard skills. More on Power Skills here.

Expertise Women and Men

Analytical Skills in women and men

The data shows that the traditional differences between men and women are fading. While three quarters of male employees consider themselves to have great analytical skills and ICT proficient, they are closely followed this year by women in paid employment. No less than 72% of the women surveyed have fully mastered these skills. In addition, men give themselves an equal score for ‘soft’ skills, which are often seen as typically feminine, such as communication skills.

Job skills in women and men
Soft skills in women and men

Although the stereotype distribution, the gender differences, of competencies in the workplace seems to be coming to an end, the differences in certain areas are still noticeable. More than half of women (55%) feel that their leadership skills (such as conducting difficult conversations) are still inadequate. Among men, this is only reaching 47%.

Leadership skills in women and men

According to René Janssen, founder of Lepaya, the times of clear gender differences are over: “Due to the digitization of the labour market, the same skills, both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills, are becoming relevant for everyone. Binary lines are fading, stereotyping disappears and skills will gradually take over formal diplomas.”

This is also apparent from the figures, these are very close to each other for most Power Skills in both women and men and are even equal for the Adaptability skill, where women and men score themselves equally.

Generation gap when it comes to key skills

In the annual Lepaya Skills Monitor, employees of all ages rate themselves on eight future-proof skills. The differences between the various age levels are remarkable this year. Strangely enough, the first generation of digital natives seems to be the least digitally skilled. Only 19% of Gen Z respondents (born after 1996) have fully mastered analytical skills (such as handling IT and data), compared to over 35% of Millennials, 27% of Gen X and 21% of the oldest generation, the baby boomers.

Digital skills at work

By scoring itself unsatisfactory or moderate with 81%, Gen Z estimates itself low in the field of Analytical skills. While Baby Boomers ‘only’ score themselves an ”unsatisfactory” score of 65%.

Janssen: “Being born in a world in which the internet has become indispensable does not provide any guarantees for the future. To optimally develop digital skills, even digital ”natives” need the right tools.”

We do see that all three generations, Gen Z, X and Baby Boomers, only score good or excellent with small percentages, and all do not exceed 40%.

Soft skills in the workplace

The youngest generation of employees also shows little confidence in their Adaptability. For example, no less than 1 in 10 indicates that they are unable to cope with change. 11% still consider themselves below average and 58% above average. Among the ”Baby Boomers,” it is no less than 70% who score themselves above average.

In general, Gen Zers rate themselves lower than the older generation, in as many as 6 out of 8 skills. However, this does not apply to the Inquisitiveness and Diversity skills. Gen Z scores high in the Power Skill Inquisitiveness, and here we see a big difference between the youngest and the oldest generation. No less than 75% of Gen Z scores above average compared to 57% of Baby Boomers. Also in Diversity, we see a difference in favour of Gen Z. 53% of Gen Z scores above average compared to 51% of Baby Boomers.

If we look at all skills and how Gen Zs rate themselves per skill, it appears that: Gen Z estimates themselves best on Inquisitiveness with only 2% below average, Interpersonal skills with 78% above average, and Digital skills with 74% above average. Although Gen Z ranks higher than the Baby Boomer on Diversity, they still consider this skill to be one they have not mastered well, as do Leadership Skills and Presentation Skills.

skills to develop for the future

The three skills that Millennials master least well are similar to Gen Z. However, the top 3 best skills differ and consist of Analytical skills with 76% above average, Interpersonal skills with 76% above average and Ownership with 72% above average.

Professional skills for the future

Gen X also has the same skills at the bottom, with Digital skills again at the top with 73% above average, Interpersonal skills with 52% above average and Adaptability.

Critical job skills

In the top three skills of Baby Boomers comes number 1 Curiosity to learn with 57% above average, Interpersonal skills with no less than 80% above average and Analytical skills with 79% above average. At the bottom, we again see Diversity, Leadership Skills and Presentation Skills.

Professional competencies for the future

Notably, Diversity, Leadership Skills, and Presentation Skills across all four generations are highlighted as skills that employees lack confidence in and have not yet mastered.

Train your employees in these skills, so they can become experts:

Leadership training

Presentation training

Diversity and inclusion training

Upskilling of employees

how to upskill employees

There is also room for improvement across the board. More than 39% of all Dutch employees score poorly or below on coping with change, an inadequate pass or lower on the Power Skill Adaptability. 19% also scores insufficiently on the Ownership skill, and 16% unsatisfactory on Leadership.

It is positive, however, that Dutch employees score a good 7.5 on Inquisitiveness. But 6% do not consider themselves eager to learn, while 63% indicate that they consciously have a growth mindset, are open to lifelong learning and receive feedback. This offers a lot of perspective for the skills that still need to be worked on.

Key skills for the future

We see that Dutch employees score the highest on Interpersonal skills with no less than 77%. This is followed by Analytical skills and Inquisitiveness. The worst skills are Leadership with 16% below average, and Presentation skills with only 7% who consider themselves excellent. Nearly a quarter of the Dutch appear not to be comfortable with speaking in front of a group.

Sector specific key skills

In relation to sectors, it appears that Education, Wholesale and retail trade, Health and welfare and Culture, Sports and Recreation score low on the skill Adaptability.

Sector specific competencies

This is despite the fact that these are all sectors that have had time to adapt in the past two years.

In the field of Presentation Skills, Financial Institutions, Wholesale and Retail and Culture, Sports and Recreation score the lowest, with Specialist services as the positive start with no less than 54% above average.

industry specific competencies

Diversity is scored low by the employees themselves, but in the sectors, we see that Specialist services, IT, Education and Public administration all score around 60% above average.

Retail and Horeca rate themselves here with 16% and 13% below average.

Industry specific skills

The differences at the sector level are also remarkable. For example, respondents from the business services sector are more likely to be overly competent in IT skills (93%) than respondents working in the IT sector (85%). Logical says Janssen: “Every company is a tech company these days. Digital skills no longer only belong to the IT sector, but are mandatory for every profession”.

industry specific core skills

How do employees score on the skills they will need in the coming years?

Several figures from this year’s Lepaya Skills Monitor stand out when we look at how Dutch employees rank themselves on skills of the future. The Dutch employee considers himself analytically strong, both women and men score high here. Although younger employees are a bit more reserved when it comes to this skill.

In general, the younger generations rate themselves a lot lower on many skills, 6 out of 8, than the older generation of Baby Boomers. However, we do see that Gen Z sees itself as very studious, but 2% of this generation scores below average here.

Dutch employees across the board consider themselves very eager to learn, but all feel that they lack the right presentation skills. A skill that ranks bottom three with all generations, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, including Diversity and Leadership.

These three skills come out as the worst and Dutch employees show that they do not fully master these skills, nor do they use these skills with confidence. Yet, these are essential skills that are needed for employees now, but also in the future. We are increasingly moving towards a diverse work environment, where good leaders and excellent presentation skills are needed.

Fortunately, Dutch employees are open to lifelong learning and indicate that they have a growth mindset by scoring themselves a 7.5 on Curiosity to Learn. So even though employees have not mastered skills yet, they are open to developing them!

About the Lepaya Skills Monitor

In the annual Lepaya Skills Monitor, employees rate themselves on the 8 skills needed to remain relevant in the labour market. In 2021, employees will score best on communication, analytical skills and eagerness to learn. The bottom of the list shows where there is still the most work to be done for the Dutch employees: presentation skills, leadership skills, and diversity are the last ones.

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About Lepaya

Lepaya is a provider of Power Skills training that combines online and offline learning. Founded by René Janssen and Peter Kuperus in 2018 with the perspective that the right training, at the right time, focused on the right skill, makes organizations more productive. Lepaya has trained thousands of employees.

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