The Top 5 Short Business Courses to Take in 2021

Top 5 Short Business Courses

Learn about the top short business courses to study in 2021 based off the current in-demand skills employers are after.

There are a lot of uncertainties in the post-pandemic business world, but one thing is for certain: we need to be adaptable to what is an ever-changing environment.

The pandemic accelerated trends towards remote work, e-commerce and automation, with 25% more workers than previously estimated needing to switch occupations during the past year. Rapid change, environmental challenges, digitalisation, and ongoing management of the pandemic will continue to define the global economy in 2021 and into the future.

We are now entering into what McKinsey consultants call “The CEO Moment” -- the beginning of a new era of digital hybrid business models and decentralised corporate structures, an era which demands new types of leaders with new skill sets.

What do you need to study if you’re going to keep up with these changes?

Firstly, let’s take a brief look at what experts say are the top skills to learn for 2021. Then, scroll down to see a detailed list of the online short courses Torrens University Australia has on offer that I think will be most useful for you in 2021.

Soft skills and digital skills are the business skills in highest demand in 2021

According to the latest Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), over 97 million new jobs may emerge in the next five years that combine the labour of humans and AI. For those workers who stay in their current roles, they estimate that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.

Here are the WEF top 10 skills in greatest demand for work in 2025: 

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

This list of soft skills and digital skills is echoed by virtually every other study of skills in high demand for this year, including the renowned McKinsey’s 2020 Global Survey. The ‘Future of Work 2021 Global Outlook Special Report’ from Monster Hiring also shows that employers are looking for candidates with skills, such as dependability, problem-solving and flexibility.

Forbes Magazine lists accountability, empathy and resilience as the top three skills for business leaders and CEOs this year. With more people working online and remotely, leaders need to lead by motivating and inspiring their self-directed employees rather than relying on hierarchical power structures.

The digital skills gap in key areas, such as data analytics is widening, with many companies concerned about the implications. Recent research by Capgemini and LinkedIn revealed that 54% of companies believe the lack of digital skills among their workforce is hindering their growth.

On the other side of the coin, digital workers are now among the most sought after in the world and in Australia, according to the latest LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise report

If you’re considering studying a short business course in 2021, you would be wise to take note and choose from the two key areas of soft and digital skills.

Torrens University Australia offers over 100 online, on-demand short courses for busy business professionals. All of these are super-condensed, industry-expert designed courses available online at any time of the day, and can be completed in just 1-2 hours. Below is a list of our most popular courses right now teaching the digital and soft skills you’re going to need to do business this year.

1.How Big Data is Changing Content Marketing

According to McKinsey’s 2020 survey of 1,216 executives and managers across a range of industries worldwide, a huge 43% of respondents said they expect data and analytics (D&A) to be the area with the greatest skills gap in the next five years.

Companies need business professionals who understand the new ways in which big data is being applied to content marketing. This doesn’t mean you need to enrol in a degree, retrain and become a data analyst. However, you do need to equip yourself with enough knowledge to be able to think in terms of big data, and implement the correct tools and strategies required to take advantage of it.

Big data and content analytics have had a huge impact on the types of channels and approaches companies use in content marketing. It’s being used in developing new marketing and content strategy, reaching and retaining targeted audiences, harnessing intelligent information management and ensuring positive customer engagement and experience. Every manager or senior professional needs to know what it’s about.

Our How Big Data is Changing Content Marketing short course provides industry professionals an introductory overview of what big data is, how it works, and its role in shaping content marketing strategy.

You’ll get some inside tips from experts on the key tools, analytics programs and marketing channels you should be using in 2021, and an up-to-date insight into how big data can be effectively applied to create more successful content marketing. This knowledge is a highly valuable asset for any manager, marketing executive or aspiring CEO to bring to an organisation, even if you don’t want to work exclusively in marketing or in D&A.

2.Analysis Toolbox

In a recent article, Forbes magazine asked 10 recruitment professionals to share the top skills they will be looking for in potential hires in 2021. The top three on that list are: growth mindset, critical thinking and continuous learning.

Critical analysis and strategic thinking are never more important to businesses than when they are emerging from a crisis. This year, many companies are developing new projects or marketing strategies, expanding, innovating and planning to position themselves for the best possible pandemic recovery.

Professionals with critical thinking and analysis skills are in high demand in 2021.

Our Analysis Toolbox short course will introduce you to the most current and essential suite of tools you can use to analyse the business environment before starting a new project or venture. These tools are the industry standards currently used to assess the viability of a new venture or project.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, small business owner or working your way up in a large company, these tools will transform the way you assess and plan your next innovation, saving you money, time, and potentially even your business. Every professional should know how to confidently perform a business analysis.

3.Adopting Social Media Marketing

During the pandemic, the number of people using social media platforms in Australia grew by a huge 30%. This year, brands are going to be increasing their investment in advertising on popular platforms. Social media marketing by now has proven to be incredibly effective, it’s cheap and offers a huge ROI, so you can be sure that your competitors are already doing it.

It’s going to be a big year for social media marketing, so if you or your company are not already on top of it then now is definitely the time.

Our Adopting Social Media Marketing course is an introductory course designed to get you up-to-date with the latest platforms, tools, content analysis, promotion techniques and engagement strategies, as quickly as possible. This course is primarily designed for individuals who are unfamiliar with the principles, tools, techniques and platforms essential for effective social media marketing, who want to get started as quickly as possible.

In two hours, you’ll progress from a beginner level understanding to confidently using social media to expand your audience, develop your brand and engage with customers.

4.Quantitative vs. Qualitative Data

Here it is again: data. Now the biggest traded commodity in the world, big data will play an ever increasing role in all aspects of business and life as we enter the era of the Internet of Things (IoT).

However, data is only valuable if you understand how to interpret and apply it.

When it comes to data science, it’s important to make sure you understand the basic principles of data analysis before you get caught up in the excitement of machine learning and AI. Whether it’s market research for your new product or content analysis of your brand’s Facebook page, the success of any research hinges on the types of data you collect and how reliable it is.

Any business professional who is going to be dealing with data of any kind needs to start with a basic understanding of the difference between a ‘qualitative’ or ‘quantitative’ approach to data collection.

Our Quantitative vs Qualitative Data course introduces these two fundamental approaches to research and goes into detail about how each of these approaches influences the way research is undertaken. It may not be as exciting as our short course on Artificial Intelligence, but it introduces you to foundational knowledge that’s essential to doing business in the big data era.

5.Strategic Pricing for Revenue

Revenue management is the art of minimising waste, strategically adjusting prices and matching supply to demand as accurately as possible. Effective pricing and revenue management can make a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic sent hotels, airlines, venues and restaurants into a revenue management tail-spin, as they tried to recuperate costs and manage cancellations.

This year, the hotel and airline industries in particular are looking to develop innovative, water-tight and strategic approaches to pricing and revenue management so they can emerge from the pandemic into a low-risk recovery period. New tools, such as automated and machine learning revenue management programs, are exciting developments in this field that professionals also need to be up-to-date with.

In industries where pricing fluctuates, all managers should understand how to implement strategic pricing decisions.

Our Strategic Pricing for Revenue course is designed for professionals working in the hotel, airline and hospitality industries in particular.

The course is an introduction to the methods and tools of revenue management, looking at competitor pricing behaviour, customer value perceptions, and the fixed and variable costs of a business. You will also learn some essential key performance indicators you can immediately use to measure the success of your pricing strategies.

For anyone working in the hospitality industry who is developing a post-pandemic recovery strategy for your business right now, a course in pricing for revenue management could be a huge help.

This is just a small pick of some of the online short business courses on offer at TUA right now.

I didn’t have time to go into all of them today, but some of my other favourites for this year include:

If you’re still unsure what kind of course to choose, just remember  that the consensus for in-demand skills in 2021 is: soft skills and digital skills. These are the most important skill sets to focus on this year, and almost certainly for the next few years to come.

Justin Pierce, Director of Innovation, Industry and Employability, at Torrens University Australia (TUA).

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