The Top Skills Employers Are Looking For Right Now

What are the top skills employers are looking for right now?

That varies by industry, but some of the most in-demand skills were recently revealed with the release of the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide. The Guide also provides hot skills for more than 750 professional occupations. The report revealed these findings:

  • Some of the most in-demand candidates include those with backgrounds in compliance, data analytics and cybersecurity.
  • Technical skills are in-demand, even for non-technical positions. Accountants, creative professionals, administrative staff and others must demonstrate their technical proficiency along with functional skills and knowledge.
  • Firms look carefully at a candidate’s soft skills. In addition to verbal/written communication, the following are important: Flexibility, ability to collaborate/work on a team, presentation skills, problem-solving skills, and a proactive approach to work.

Soft skills still important

Tim Mayer, Director of Talent Acquisition, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, knows the importance of those soft skills. In fact, it’s not a lack of technical or industry experience that is hurting Kraus-Anderson’s ability to fill open positions. It’s the lack of soft skills from candidates – no matter the role.

“Relationships are the cornerstone of our business, and because of that we seek candidates that can effectively communicate and coordinate, lead and manage large groups to foster these lasting relationships focused on solving problems,” says Tim Mayer, Director of Talent Acquisition, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.

Mayer continued: “It is a given that a candidate needs to have a core set of construction skills to work in this industry, but the soft skills are the true differentiators that we seek.  In today’s market, the candidates that have these skills are typically well taken care of and happy where they’re at.  To get these candidates in the mix we are focusing on leveraging employee referrals and building a strong employment brand.”

Below, we look at some other in-demand jobs and skills needed:

Bill Peppler, managing partner at staffing firm Kavaliro, says  coding skills are considered to be one of the top in-demand job skills of the workforce. Even if your job title doesn’t list “programmer” or “developer” it is becoming necessary for most employees to know his or her way around the coding language. Not only will it make you a much more attractive hire, it will also teach you how to think in an entirely new way.

“Whether you know a little HTML or a more difficult language such a Java, knowing the basics of this skill is better than not knowing anything at all,” says Peppler. “It is increasingly becoming an essential core skill that increases the chances of getting hired in today’s job industry, specifically tech.”

Cyber security experts wanted

One of the biggest skill gaps employers are facing are cyber security experts. “Many companies have fallen prey to cybercriminals, including UPS, Goodwill and JP Morgan Chase,” says Peppler. “With the cost of these breaches being so expensive to counteract, it is no wonder that these skills are needed.”

The Robert Half Salary 2017 Salary Guide also identified these in-demand jobs and skills:

Accounting and Finance
Controllers, financial analysts, business analysts, and staff and senior accountants are in demand. Employers seek job candidates who possess technology proficiency, strong soft skills and professional certifications.

With a shortage of qualified technology candidates, in-demand positions, including data scientists, big data engineers and network security engineers, are projected to see even greater salary gains in the coming year.

Creative and Marketing
Creative professionals with diverse skills that complement each other, like web designers who are comfortable with front-end coding and copywriters who are proficient in search engine optimization, are in demand. As companies invest more in online initiatives, positions requiring digital expertise, such as user experience and mobile designers, are seeing the biggest pay gains.  

Administrative and Office Support
Hiring for skilled support staff is becoming more competitive. Administrative healthcare and customer service/call center specialties are particularly strong growth areas, and businesses also seek executive and administrative assistants and those in senior or management roles.

Technology is leading the way, and non-techies need to have technical skills to advance their career. That, and soft skills are the skills employers crave heading into the last quarter of 2016 and towards 2017.

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via, connect with him on LinkedIn ( and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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