The Top 5 Skills and Occupations In Demand Right Now

The Top 5 Skills and Occupations In Demand Right Now

Emily Smykal

The gap between skills employers want and skills employees have is a growing problem, and not just here in the U.S. Across many of the world’s large economies, companies face competition at home and abroad for the best and brightest workers. We already know that the hiring rate in the U.S. is not keeping pace with the number of job openings. Recruiters worldwide are trying to source candidates from a talent pool that is not expanding in tandem with the job market.

Earlier this year, Wanted Analytics conducted a study of 1 billion unique job postings, spanning 22 countries, to identify the actual skills and jobs that are most in demand. Their Global Hiring Demand Report collected data from July through September 2015, and this was compared to a similar data set from the previous quarter. Wanted Analytics found some surprising similarities among the needs of recruiters in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

The shift to a consumer model within more lines of business was evident, as the report found increasing demand for skills in quality and marketing. The need for bilingual abilities continues to grow, particularly among entry-level positions. And as we’ve discussed many times, tech jobs contribute widely to the global skills gap regardless of industry or location. In this post we’ll review the top skills and occupations that are in demand in the U.S.

Top 5 Skills in Demand in the U.S.

  1. Quality Assurance: The need to monitor and control the quality of a product or service has never been greater. Businesses today know that consumers’ opinions are easily swayed by negative coverage in social media, in the news, and through traditional word of mouth. Quality assurance workers help maintain a high standard, and let companies promote a more positive image of their goods to current and prospective customers.
  2. Bilingual: Our world is increasingly globalized, and you’re just as likely to hear Hindi on the streets of New York as English. Bilingual jobs and translations are not just in the realm of foreign workers–many customer-facing roles in administration, retail, and sales now have bilingual requirements, as businesses recognize their customer base is changing to reflect globalization trends.
  3. Structured Query Language (SQL): The first of three tech skills on the list, SQL is a programming language used to manage data or stream processing in relational data stream management systems. One of the most common programming languages, SQL is necessary for sifting through large databases, and is typically used in tandem with other languages.
  4. Java: Java has been a top programming language for some time, used for everything from server-side applications, to apps and video games. Android apps run on Java, and it has been popular with programmers worldwide thanks to its portable design and compatibility with multiple platforms. The rise of big data and the popularity of apps, games and online content suggest skills in both SQL and Java will remain in demand for some time.
  5. Technical Support: A broader IT skill than programming, technical support is nonetheless crucial to many businesses today. Even if you’re not producing hardware or software, you probably run some kind of technology in your offices. A quick search on CareerBuilder brings up tech support jobs from Pennsylvania to Texas, from companies in chemical packaging to staffing agencies.

Top 5 Occupations in Demand in the U.S.

  1. Sales and Related: Wanted Analytics found sales and similar jobs in the U.S. to be the most commonly advertised, in industries like the expected Retail Trade (261,265 positions), but also Finance and Insurance (44,720) and Wholesale Trade (36,366). Even Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (18,940 positions) need employees with skills in sales and related roles. The most commonly desired skills among sales job postings were bilingual, customer relationship management (CRM), business sales, Salesforce CRM, and technical sales.
  2. Office and Administrative Support: Perhaps even broader than sales jobs, these roles need to be filled in companies far and wide regardless of the product they produce. Again Retail Trade (82,264) and Finance and Insurance (80,712) industries had the most open jobs, but Health Care and Social Assistance (66,496) and Educational Services (25,454) also made the top five. Administrative jobs need workers who are bilingual (especially in Spanish), and who can handle accounts payable and receivable, as well as run some quality assurance.
  3. Computer and Mathematical: The next most in demand jobs in the U.S. cover many of the technical skills we know are in short supply. Workers in computer and mathematical roles are needed in tech-heavy Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (97,406), Manufacturing (39,542) and Finance and Insurance (38,951). But even Retail Trade (18,733) has jobs for these skilled workers, and the most needed skills for these roles are no surprise: Java, SQL, Linux, JavaScript, and quality assurance.
  4. Management Occupations: Management in this context often refers to customer relationship management, supply chain oversight, and marketing roles. Businesses in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (50,078), Health Care and Social Assistance (47,624), Finance and Insurance (47,053), and Manufacturing (39,232) need to fill these management roles. The skills they’re looking for include quality assurance, CRM, and digital marketing.
  5. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical: While the majority of the demand for these jobs comes from Health Care and Social Assistance (230,397), there is also a need among Retail Trade (16,436) and Educational Services (10,822). These roles often require extensive education or training, and right now employers are most in need of specialists in pediatrics, geriatrics, critical care, patient electronic medical records, and medical surgical nursing.

The talent war is no longer fought between companies across town or across the country. It is a global problem exacerbated by skills shortages in key areas, and tightening labor conditions. Time to fill has hit record highs this year, even though the number of job openings continues to rise. Recruiters who recognize these issues, and overcome them through new technologies and consumer-quality candidate experiences, will be better placed to attract top talent.

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