Key Skill Sets for A Recovering Economy: John Stackhouse

Photo of John Stackhouse
John Stackhouse, senior vice president in the Office of the CEO at RBC.

Innovative economic recovery relies on the right skill sets in sectors ripe for change. Look for these in all levels of education — from high school to college to work qualification Programs. 

John Stackhouse, senior vice president in the Office of the CEO at RBC, interprets trends
for the executive leadership team and board at RBC. Identifying ways that COVID-19 will transform the economy and disrupt businesses, he singled out eight key skills that rise to
the top for recovery. These aren’t all revolutionary tech skills — many are foundational learnings that are now more important than ever. 


How many of us knew how to open Zoom in March? The ability to approach unforeseen problems — from technology and business operations to health and wellness — is crucial. Problem-solvers will review relevant information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. 

Systems Analysis

The transformation in how we shop has meant that smart retailers are evolving their consumer engagement with new services like curbside pickup. The result is a greater demand for people who are able to work with data, understanding how it impacts systems and consumer environments.

Digital and Multimedia 

We are awash with content that democratizes access to global activities and spectacles, like museums and conferences. The ability to shape, inform, imagine and execute meaningful  interactive content will be of value to all kinds of organizations — even those who don’t know it yet.

Resource Management 

The data revolution has changed how people share information. Strategic management of that data will see businesses create dynamic interactive content that speaks to the patterns and behaviours of its customers. 


With travel and tourism industries hard hit, the experience economy has potential to fulfill that need for a getaway. There is a huge opportunity for creativity in physical and virtual experiences that will be the engines for local and community engagement.


The pandemic has shown how dependent we are on great health care, and the development of future health packages will rely on communication. Introductions of telehealth, health tech and diagnostics, conversations around quality of life and aging in place will need a clear voice, and the requirements of industry to work effectively and safely will need advocacy. 


In this new generation of interactive, hybrid learning, an even greater premium is being placed on collaboration. The education experience will be shaped by community, employers and learners who will all contribute to personalized learning journeys. 

Social Perceptiveness 

The understanding of how people in different parts of the world behave and act differently will be an asset within many sectors. Everyone will become an exporter, especially in a digital platform based economy, and social perceptiveness will influence trade.

No one can argue that the pandemic has created a need for skills that were not in demand coming into the crisis. The right skills will galvanize recovery, ensuring forward momentum as people direct and redirect their efforts to the sectors poised for innovation and growth in a hybrid economy.