which adjacent skills can future-proof your workforce?

November 2, 2022 Joost Heins

adjacent skills projections: Randstad Sourceright 2022 Global In-demand Skills research

| 4 min read|

In Randstad Sourceright’s recent analysis of labor market data from around the world, it’s clear that technology is the most influential factor shaping the world of work today. Not only does it dictate which skills are most in demand, but also how people are sourced, screened, hired and deployed.

In the 2022 Global In-demand Skills research, our Intelligence team found that many technical competencies are universally in high demand across a variety of skill clusters. For instance, Python developers have become more relevant across a variety of skill clusters as the programming language’s applications in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud engineering and other disciplines increases.

The adjacency of Python to alternative languages, such as Ruby and Java, offers workers greater career mobility and earnings potential. For employers, of course, hiring candidates whose skills have wide applications provides workforce agility and clear economic advantages.

This strategy is not just isolated to technical roles. Customer service skills are often seen as adjacent to sales skills. As customer-facing specialists, these professionals are critical to the success of every organization, and their mastery of communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills is critical to success for sales professionals too.

what are adjacent skills? what are transferable skills?

Adjacent skills are competencies that are closely related to a skill that a person may already possess, or that a company may be searching for. These skills can make a person more effective at their job, and/or can make them a good option for reskilling and internal mobility.

Transferable skills are competencies that can be used across different jobs, even spanning different fields. Both adjacent and transferable skills can include technical capabilities, like coding languages, user experience expertise or data visualization, but they can also include soft skills like management, communication or creativity.

digital skills and the sustainable workforce

In a report issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers completed a historical analysis of digital jobs data from 10 OECD markets, starting from 2012. This analysis reveals the profound effects of digitalization on the demand of various roles, but also uses a mathematical vector to uncover how similar roles are. This vector provides clarity for the skilling required to redeploy an advertising sales agent to becoming a digital marketing specialist, for example.

Data from both the OECD report and our Global In-demand Skills research confirms the importance of having foundational skills to build on. Whether it’s a programming language such as Python or customer-facing skills such as communication, companies need to assess how ready and willing they are to conduct accurate skills mapping, internal mobility programs, and robust learning and development initiatives that will keep workers relevant to market changes.

Doing this will allow them to build the skills they need internally, create a sustainable workforce, and reduce layoffs for those whose skills competencies no longer align with business needs.

adjacent skills projections: Randstad Sourceright 2022 Global In-demand Skills research

adjacent skills mapping and opportunities for reskilling

Randstad Sourceright’s Intelligence team has been closely monitoring shifts in demand for digital skills over the last few years. We have identified a spectrum of competencies that are growing rapidly and have cross-referenced them with millions of job advertisements. In doing this, we are able to conclude how often these competencies are requested across each high-demand skill cluster.

The image here shows 2022’s top 10 in-demand skills along the left side mapped to the top adjacent skills projections along the right side.

adjacent skills projections: Randstad Sourceright 2022 Global In-demand Skills research

Among the 23 competencies identified on the right side, those that are likely to be future-proof are Python, Tableau, internet of things (IoT), Kubernetes, Apache Kafka, Apache Hive and React JavaScript, as they co-occur most with the high-demand skill clusters identified through this research.

Out of the top 10 in-demand skill clusters on the left side, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud computing and big data are the highest priorities for organizations across various major sectors (financial services, tech, healthcare, retail), based on recent technology adoption and digital transformation trends.

In the era of the digital world, skills gaps are widening and there is demand for reskilling and upskilling when it comes to both transferable skills and adjacent skills. In this scenario, both employees and employers can benefit: talent remains relevant in the global labor market, and companies more easily acquire the skills they need to remain competitive.

If you’re ready to dive deeper into this data, get your copy of the 2022 Global In-Demand Skills report. Access soft skills data, gender diversity breakdowns, market competitive analysis, compensation data and more for each of the top 10 in-demand skills.

> get the full report

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