in-demand skills: what digital skills will your company need in the future?

January 19, 2022

create a successful talent strategy with unique market insights

future in-demand skills

The skills gap for in-demand skills has been growing for years, but the acceleration of digitalization across all sectors during the pandemic has made that gap wider. Even though talent scarcity is occurring across more skill sets than before the pandemic, the problem continues to be most pronounced in the IT and emerging technology specialties — driven in part by rising demand for those services and products. In examining the top skills in demand today, little has changed since the start of the pandemic; if anything, the need has simply become more urgent.

Both economic data and recent corporate initiatives underscore the growing skills gap. For instance, the Wall Street Journal reports that from November of 2020 to March of this year, the number of U.S. job postings for AI professionals nearly doubled.

In October 2021, Google launched a new program to get 40 million people trained in Google Cloud skills. And ZDNet reports that 57% of cybersecurity professionals say a shortage of cybersecurity skills is affecting their organization.

According to Information Week, competition for skilled IT workers has never been more heated. Our research affirms that the explosive growth in the internet of things, block chain, cybersecurity, data science and other applications has led to unprecedented demand for talent. For human capital leaders, this has become a double-edged sword: on one hand, more students are seeking careers in these fields; on the other, more businesses are competing for these individuals.

Our "Global future in-demand skills" research affirms that the explosive growth in the internet of things, block chain, cybersecurity, data science and other applications has led to unprecedented demand for talent.

Although the wide adoption of remote working has broadened the talent pool for many companies, access to global talent is still prohibitive for many businesses due to taxation and local employment laws. Still, the proliferation of online talent marketplaces, a lowering of geographic barriers, and flexible jobs and schedules are helping to alleviate the skills gap for some organizations.

how can you recruit the best people for your organization?

in demand skills for the future

Our Global Future In-Demand Skills research spans 26 markets around the globe, and it is clear where talent is most concentrated: the U.S. leads in most categories, with India, China and the U.K. also among leading economies with these in-demand skills. The equilibrium between supply and demand in these places during the past 18 months has been highly dynamic, as wage inflation has impacted all of the skills we have profiled here.

We know there are many factors that impact how and from where you source talent: cost, skills, availability, cultural fit, diversity goals and more. This report highlights nine in-demand skills and provides intelligence on six factors impacting talent acquisition for each skill in each market, including: the potential candidate supply pool, market competitiveness, the target industries you’re competing with, total work experience breakdowns, education backgrounds and compensation. 

The nine high-demand skills are:

1. artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
2. augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
3. blockchain
4. cloud computing
5. cybersecurity
6. data science
7. internet of things (IoT)
8. robotic process automation (RPA)
9. user interface/experience design (UI/UX)

How well your business responds to the widening talent gap and talent shortages will be critical to your growth in the months and years ahead. You can use the market intelligence in the report to inform your talent strategy moving forward, and to effectively attract and source the people your business needs to thrive.

key takeways

1. The U.S. is among the most competitive markets for all in-demand skill sets, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, blockchain and robotic process automation — with less than 10 candidates available for every job posted, organizations are advised to expand their recruitment radius to tap into hybrid or remote pools.

2. Although the U.S., China and India have the highest supply across most roles, this supply is also met with high demand.

3. Brazil is turning into the world's augmented reality/ virtual reality capital, with most of the activity clustered around São Paulo. Currently, there are more than one hundred potential candidates available for each job, making the market an ideal target for these requisitions either in-market or remotely.

4. Cloud computing, cybersecurity and internet of things (IoT) are the three job categories seeing the highest levels of market competition across the globe.

5. France has among the highest number of candidates in the cybersecurity and IoT categories (two of the most competitive categories across the globe).

6. Although the U.K. is among the top five markets in terms of candidate supply across all role categories, demand has been on the rise, making it one of the four most competitive markets across the globe. It is a good idea to consider hybrid or remote working within the domestic market or hiring from outside the United Kingdom.

7. Germany has a large pool of artificial intelligence/machine learning and cloud computing talent. The market is somewhat competitive in general, with the number of candidates for each job posted in the double-digits. However, most jobs are posted in the prominent metropolitan clusters, making roles extremely difficult to  fill there. Consider expanding the geo scope of recruiting into other areas of Germany, but especially other markets in Europe with high German proficiency.

8. Data science and cybersecurity have the highest number  of junior talent proportionately. Consider tapping into fresh graduate pools and getting this talent trained up, in addition to hiring more experienced professionals.

9. The U.S. and India have tens of thousands of professionals with less than a year of total experience starting off in   IoT — the category with the most limited talent pool of   all in-demand jobs.

10. Most talent in augmented and virtual reality is from nontraditional education backgrounds, such as business administration and accounting, indicating a strong reskilling opportunity in the field. Consider talent with other backgrounds besides the standard    computer science and information technology degrees.

11. Data science talent, as a group, has — among all in-demand categories — the most versatile education background. Candidates may come from any science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discipline.

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