New data shows that despite AI’s growing impact on the world of work, soft skills are still the most sought after by UK employers.
LinkedIn’s 2024 most in-demand skills data finds that soft skills make up four of the top five most in-demand skills by UK employers, with communication the most sought-after skill.
The research shows that:
Soft skills are becoming increasingly important as AI reshapes the world of work
The skills needed for jobs are expected to change by at least 65% by 2030 - accelerated by rapid developments in AI - with business leaders relying on uniquely human soft skills to manage these changes
9 out of 10 (92%) UK business leaders believe soft skills are more important than ever
Soft skills make up 4 of the top 5 most in-demand skills - with communication the #1 most in-demand skill from UK employers, followed by #2 customer service, #3 management, #4 leadership and #5 teamwork
With the world of work continuing to change, there are concerns that skills gaps could widen
7 out of 10 (69%) UK hiring managers believe skills gaps could grow in the next 5 years due to fast-paced changes in the world of work
To mitigate against emerging skills gaps and make the most of the opportunities presented by AI, businesses are prioritising the development of both soft skills and AI skills
This is particularly important for younger professionals entering the workforce. 70% of UK hiring managers say Gen Z employees need additional support from their workplace to develop soft skills such as communication and collaboration
Gen Z professionals are keen to learn, and nearly half (47%) say they’re spending more time on learning and development to help get ahead in their careers
To help boost AI literacy among their teams, HR professionals in the UK are planning to provide online training and development programmes (34%), and implement guidelines on how Generative AI should be used within the organisation (29%)
LinkedIn has seen members add more than 680 million skills to their profiles over the last 12 months and has unlocked free LinkedIn Learning courses to help develop AI and soft skills, including Teamwork Essentials, Strategic Thinking Tips to Solve Problems, and a Career Essentials certificate in Generative AI.
Luke Mckend, Senior Director, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, UK: “As AI changes the world of work, there’s a growing appreciation that the ‘soft’ skills that only humans can bring - such as communication, management and leadership - are becoming more important than ever.
“So while businesses are undoubtedly keen to boost AI literacy, they are also prioritising the development of soft skills among their teams - particularly Gen Z employees who are finding their feet in the workplace and are eager for greater support and development opportunities. By pairing these uniquely human skills with the potential of AI, business leaders know that they can give their organisations a cutting edge, and make their workforce more resilient to future changes.”
'L&D always a priority'
HR leaders at some of the UK’s most well-known businesses also spoke about the importance of developing new skills and talents in the workplace.
Sophie Manners, Head of People at recipe box Gousto: said: “Dream is one of three ownership principles at Gousto, encouraging a culture of curiosity, learning and growth. So, learning and development has always been a key priority.
“Through a dedicated Learning team, we’ve built core development programmes to upskill our people. For example, our ‘Power Up’ programme develops six key ‘power’ skills, including building resilience, growth mindset and collaboration.
“Our 'Leading the Way' programme focuses on core human skills of leadership and different ways of seeing things. Whilst being a tech business run on AI, people are the key to our success, and developing soft skills will forever be a huge priority for the business.”
'Investing in our people is crucial'
And according to Louise Cavanagh, Head of Capability at Tesco: “Our goal at Tesco is to serve our customers a little better every day. Investing in our people – as well as our technology - is crucial for achieving that goal.
“We invest in our colleagues' development, helping them to learn every day and supporting them to gain the skills and confidence to get on in their careers. Since October, we've been focused on helping our managers to be inclusive, care for their teams and drive high performance. We believe we can ensure everyone at Tesco feels welcome and able to be their best.”
The list of most in-demand skills for 2024 comprises: