Talent Management | What are the top 9 in-demand skills right now?

What are the top 9 in-demand skills right now?

By Joost Heins, global head of Intelligence, Randstad Enterprise

Talent scarcity isn't going away this year. If businesses want to attract, engage and retain top talent they need to get serious about skilling. Our 2024 global in-demand skills research can help your organisation navigate the complexity of today's hiring market, aiding you in getting the skills you need.

Labor markets around the world have cooled considerably since last year’s Global In-demand Skills Research took place, yet employers are still facing significant hiring challenges and talent scarcity. In 2022, hiring trends were booming and demand for tech talent was remarkably strong as a result of exceptional growth in data centers and investments in remote working-related industries.

Since then, however, hiring trends have normalised, and most expect they will further stabilise through a significant part of 2024. But, even with these cyclical declines taking place, talent scarcity persists. Since the challenges of the global talent shortage are structural in nature, you can expect it will continue along with demographic changes, high demand for specialised skills, the rapid adoption of new technologies and a constant outflow of talent from the global labor market. As Randstad Enterprise’s latest Global In-demand Skills Research shows, the need for specialised and high-skill talent remains above pre-pandemic levels and historically elevated.

What are the top 9 global in-demand skill clusters?

Based on absolute data, enterprise employers will continue to see stiff competition for these 9 in-demand skill clusters through most of 2024:

  • AI and automation

  • audit and compliance

  • cloud computing

  • customer service

  • data science and analytics

  • engineering and maintenance

  • finance and accounting

  • marketing, content and advertising

  • software project management and leadership

Understanding skills and human potential

This list of high-demand skill clusters is based on a long-term perspective of talent scarcity. That’s why it’s so critical that employers consider the long-term impacts of their current, arguably unsustainable, skills acquisition strategies. Because scarcity continues, more talent leaders are driving the shift to skills-based talent strategies where companies consider the potential of every person, rather than just the experience and hard skills they already possess. In a truly skills-based organisation, this thinking extends beyond the hiring process to the whole workforce across career journeys overall.

That’s why the latest Global In-demand Skills research — conducted by our Talent Intelligence team, who verified, normalised and analysed millions of job postings and talent profiles from the most representative sources across 23 markets globally — not only provides insights on nine major high-demand skill clusters, but the learned core skills, innate sub-skills and key motivations that are important to success in those roles.

Now available as an interactive dashboard, the new research is designed to help you understand talent market dynamics across six dimensions: (1) the skills needed, (2) skills supply, (3) skills demand, (4) compensation, (5) remote and hybrid working trends, and (6) gender diversity.

We encourage you to explore the dashboard to answer questions like, where is cloud talent available in abundance and on budget? Or, will remote working arrangements help us differentiate as we compete for AI skills? And, how much can we expect to budget for critical customer service talent in our defined markets?

Global talent supply & demand: what’s trending?

People who possess the most advanced technical skills — especially within the specialties of data science, AI and cloud — are expected to be highly sought after for the foreseeable future. Their work will also necessitate the need for specialists supporting project management, implementation and adoption of new technologies and workflows.

Of the sub-skills (those acquired through learning) within each cluster, some of the hardest to find are in robotics, ethics and compliance knowledge, audit tools and software, and natural language processing (NLP). In-demand skills that have relatively low talent availability are those in stakeholder communication, control systems related to auditing and quality assurance for auditing and software project management.

Market fluctuation has not affected skill clusters equally. For example, engineering and maintenance talent are experiencing stronger demand relative to other clusters. At the same time, growth of this talent pool has been particularly slow, especially in the areas of green technology and emerging skills. Demand for content creation skills in emerging technologies is also growing as the digital marketing landscape becomes more competitive in a new era of possibilities.

Demand for customer service skills remains robust despite the prospect of automation from AI advancements. Demand is outpacing supply in some facets of this cluster, depending on the complexity of jobs. Humans are still better at managing personal interactions, building client relationships and leveraging other soft skills than AI and robotics — at least for now.

The need for finance and accounting skills, especially for those with deep experience in the field, accounts for a significant number of roles advertised in our latest research. As these roles see significant changes — affected by digitalisation, heightened cybersecurity concerns and greater decentralisation of the function — every organisation is seeking more expert knowledge of local regulations and best practices. As a result, the outsourcing of key functions remains very localised, and scarcity of expert talent remains high.

Regardless of economic cycles, competition for the most in-demand skills remains fierce. Whether your business needs AI professionals or customer service specialists, talent scarcity is structural and will not go away in the near future unless you shift the way your organisation thinks about skills acquisition and development overall. Now is the time to reconfigure your buy-build-borrow-bot strategy to ensure access to critical talent long-term.

Download the Research


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Randstad Enterprise

Randstad Enterprise is the leading global talent solutions provider, enabling companies to drive business agility by putting people at the center of their business strategies. As part of Randstad N.V. — the world's largest HR services provider and driven to become the world’s most valued “worklife partner” with revenue of € 27.6 billion — we combine unmatched talent insights and innovative technologies with global delivery capabilities.

We are uniquely positioned to support the world’s leading enterprises with the inflow, crossflow and outflow of all talent — whether full-time, part-time, temp, freelance or gig. We believe that driving these intentional and inclusive talent-centric strategies will create sustainable business value and support people to unleash their worklife possibilities.

Randstad Enterprise’s subject matter experts, thought leaders and delivery professionals continuously build and evolve our integrated talent solutions — talent acquisition, talent management, talent transition — to solve critical talent challenges and enable organizations to deliver on the power of talent marketing, talent intelligence, talent mobility, talent technology optimization, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

For more information, visit randstadenterprise.com.
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