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global in-demand skills: which will be the most sought-after skills for the year ahead?

gain a competitive advantage in today’s complex markets, despite global talent shortages

future in-demand skills

Today’s hiring landscape is more complex and competitive than ever. In the face of incredibly low unemployment and workers demanding greater flexibility, higher compensation and more personalized benefits, employers are struggling to attract, hire and retain talent — especially those with the most in-demand skills. Combine that with the increasing likelihood of a recession, which will further complicate the talent environment with hiring freezes and downsizing, and the need to secure in-demand skills now becomes even more crucial.

The result is that companies are bound to face chronic skills gaps, exacerbated by limited skill pools and hiring slowdowns in the face of an economic downturn. If companies are unable to find or retain the people with the needed skills, they may struggle to reach their business goals and fall behind in a rapidly changing economy.

Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Global In-demand Skills Report is designed to help employers both understand current market complexities, and learn how to gain a competitive advantage in hiring despite these challenges. 

The report identifies the top ten in-demand skill clusters across 26 markets around the globe, providing crucial insights into the competencies employers will be competing for over the next year. For example, as the global economy accelerates its digital transformation, there has been unrelenting demand for cloud engineers, data scientists and app developers.

Our research also finds growing demand for professionals in non-IT related fields, such as financial management, sales and customer service. These roles are essential to driving development across nearly all sectors, from healthcare to manufacturing to even farming.

2022’s top 10 global in-demand skills

The most in-demand skills for employers today are determined through comprehensive analysis of numerous data sources. This includes sourcing millions of job postings and worker profiles to uncover factors like supply and demand, educational background, gender diversity, compensation and more, as well as examining key terms and phrases in all of the job postings to determine the top 10 in-demand skills list.

Based on these findings, the most in-demand skills for 2022 are:

  1. artificial intelligence & machine learning (AI/ML)
  2. cloud computing
  3. Big Data
  4. business intelligence & data visualization (BI/DV)
  5. user interface & user experience (UI/UX)
  6. mobile app development
  7. cybersecurity
  8. customer service
  9. sales & business development (BD)
  10. financial management/budget & accounting

With employers facing wage inflation, rising job vacancy rates and protracted time to fill — along with greater uncertainty about the future — businesses still must ensure their teams have the people with these skills in place to drive the business forward.

Our report provides pragmatic insights to help employers source, hire, develop and retain the right people with the right skills when they’re needed and within budget. For instance, the information presented can be used to help employers:

  • determine the locations in which they should search for talent with specific skills based on market competitiveness.
  • how to develop remote working policies based on location and job roles to attract and retain talent.
  • discover opportunities to hire and develop internal talent based on the adjacent skills they already have.

key learnings to enhance your in-demand skills hiring strategy

The data in this new report reveals specific insights into the hiring landscape employers can use to make smarter talent acquisition and skilling decisions today and in  the year ahead. Some key findings include:

Enhance talent experience to attract customer service agents. 
The number of job openings for customer service roles continues to surge despite the global economic slowdown, meaning competition for these roles is higher than ever. At the risk of damaging relationships with customers, companies should consider how they can enhance their talent experience to acquire these critical employees.
For non-IT companies, the employee value proposition can increase access to tech talent. 
Despite recent headlines, the IT sector has a strong hold on digital talent across the globe. Companies across other industries — especially those in more conservative industries like financial services — will need to strengthen talent attraction and retention strategies, such as building attractive company cultures, considering flexible working, developing diverse talent and more. 
Offer remote work for AI/ML specialists. 
AI/ML roles have the highest share of remote working potential. Therefore, employers need to be aware of these expectations and, at the very least, offer hybrid work arrangements. Doing so can help facilitate sourcing and hiring in markets like the U.S., where employers routinely have challenges filling these roles.
Overcome shortages in customer-facing talent with sales professionals.
More than 60 million individuals work in sales and business development roles, representing the largest group of skill clusters examined. Companies looking to fill other customer-facing jobs, such as account management or client support, should consider sourcing from this group.
Get creative in sourcing business intelligence roles. 
Interestingly, only about a quarter of business intelligence and data visualization professionals have a STEM education; many have backgrounds in graphic arts instead. As these skills remain in high demand, employers hiring for such roles should consider sourcing individuals with design-focused resumes as well.

Skills gaps and scarcity will always be a challenge for most organizations. Equipped with the right insights and a well-crafted talent strategy, you can build a resilient and adaptive workforce for any contingency in the year ahead. 

Download your free copy of the full 2022 Global in-demand skills report.