The 25 Professional Skills That Will be Hot in 2016

January 12, 2016

Knowing what kind of talent will be in highest demand in 2016 can be a huge asset to your talent acquisition strategy. This way you will know where you may need a stronger recruiting push or impeccable candidate outreach and on-site experiences.

To get that answer for you, we analyzed all the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on LinkedIn in 2015. Going through the data, we looked closely at the skills of people who were more likely to start a new job or people who were more likely to be contacted by a recruiter. These skills were very hot towards the end of the year, so we believe this trend will carry through in 2016.

Here are the results:

A few trends that jumped out

  • Cloud computing ruled in 2015. In many ways, 2015 could be seen as the year cloud and distributed computing graduated from a niche skillset to a more widely prominent skillset in the global workforce. It was a very hot category in a few countries last year. But there weren’t enough members with skills like Hadoop, HBase and Hive listed on their profiles to allow us to rank the category on our global list in 2014. In 2015, there was a rapid increase in members worldwide listing these types of skills on their profiles.
  • Data skills are still on every company’s recruiting wish list. Our top skill category in 2014, statistical analysis and data mining, is still sitting comfortably at number two, while others like data engineering and data warehousing haven’t budged. We still live in an increasingly data-driven world, and businesses are still aggressively recruiting for experts in data storage, retrieval, and analysis.
  • Some skills cooled off (if only a little bit). A few skill categories dropped out of our 2016 list, due to a reduction in hiring and recruiting activity. Game development dropped from 24th to 29th, digital and online marketing dropped from 16th to 32nd, SAP ERP systems dropped from 21st to 34th, computer graphics and animation dropped from 17th to 37th, and integrated circuit design dropped from 22nd to 41st. 
  • Recruiting made the country-specific lists – Sadly, looks like recruiting has dropped off the global list this year -- it used to be at #15 in 2014 and now it's at #26. Just barely missed the cutoff. However, it’s still extremely prominent as a skill and countries like Australia, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, and Germany are hungry for more recruiting talent.

What this means to recruiters

This list can be an incredibly valuable cheat sheet to recruiters because it shows you the areas where you need to focus and fight extra hard for talent.

For example, if you are looking for people who are experts in cloud computing or data analysis, you are likely to have some very fierce competition. This means that your recruiting team has to write more engaging emails, easily share a compelling EVP, give undivided attention to candidates and provide memorable candidate experience and follow-up. It may even mean that your recruiters need extra support or higher budgets.

Bottom line, all jobs aren’t created equal, as some positions are much harder to source than others. Use this list to resource your team appropriately.

Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.

Because there are thousands of individual skills (and growing!) that members can put on their profile, our first step was to group these skills into several dozen categories. For example, skills like “Android” and “iOS” would fit under the “Mobile Development” category.

From there, we looked at all of the hiring and recruiting activity that happened on LinkedIn in the past year (January 1 to December 1, 2015), and identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start new jobs and receive interest from recruiters. Skill categories that did not meet a specific threshold for membership were excluded from our analysis. Trends (up, down, flat) reflect changes in ranking from last year’s list.

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