Future of Work

These are the 4 skills you’ll need in the workplace of the future

Researchers analyzed hundreds of millions of recent job postings in the US, to identify the four most in demand skills in our changing workplaces.

Researchers analyzed hundreds of millions of recent job postings in the US, to identify the four most in demand skills in our changing workplaces. Image: Unsplash/Ant Rozetsky

Simon Torkington
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Future of Work

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  • AI and machine learning are disrupting the way millions of people work.
  • Research has revealed the four in demand skills that will be useful in the future.
  • Workers will need to adopt new skills and commit to career-long training.

The digital skills required for workers to thrive in the workplace of the future “are moving from Silicon Valley to Main Street”.

Researchers analyzed hundreds of millions of recent job postings in the US, to identify the four most in demand skills in our changing workplaces.

Have you read?
  • The Future of Jobs Report 2023

The most in demand skills

Analysis of 228 million job ads revealed, “the fastest-growing, highest-demand emerging skills sets” are:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML).
  • Cloud computing.
  • Product management.
  • Social media.

The researchers found that one in eight of all job postings listed one of these skills sets as a requirement.

The five-year growth rate for key in demand skills was 122% compared with 10% for the average skill. Davos 2023
The five-year growth rate for key in demand skills was 122% compared with 10% for the average skill. Image: Burning Glass Institute et al.

The report states that, “AI/ML, Cloud Computing, Product Management, and Social Media together exemplify skills disruption and serve as a laboratory for understanding the broader trend. The five-year growth rate for these four skill sets was 122% in 2021, compared with a 10% growth rate for the average skill over the same period.”

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The benefits of adopting in demand skills

For those workers that possess or adopt the most desirable skills, the rewards will be exceptional. Both earnings and opportunity will outstrip the average job from the beginning of a career until the end.

People with the most in demand skills have higher earnings and more opportunities. Davos 2023
People with the most in demand skills have higher earnings and more opportunities. Image: Burning Glass Institute et al.

The chart above shows how earnings for people with in demand skills are higher for most new starters who possess skills in AI/ML, cloud computing and product management. Workers with social media skills don’t get off to such a strong start, but within three years they are outperforming people in the "all jobs" category.

Digital skills are spreading across industries

As the digital transformation ripples out through the economy, a growing number of industry sectors are fighting to attract workers with skills in AI/ML, cloud computing, social media and product management.

Davos 2023; in demand skills; A growing number of industries are looking to recruit staff with key management and digital skills.
A growing number of industries are looking to recruit staff with key management and digital skills. Image: Burning Glass Institute et al.

Industries as diverse as cybersecurity, creative design, health information management and scripting languages are all increasingly requiring the most in demand skills. The researchers found that “AI/ML, the fastest growing of any skill set, has grown at a rate of 370% over the past five years, which is two or three times faster than other high-growth skill sets.”

Traditional roles in decline

As the demand for digital skills spreads across industries, some traditional roles, including tech ones, are experiencing a rapid decline.

The report finds that “Business Consulting, Specialized Sales, Database Architecture and Administration, Network Protocols, Web Design and Development” are all seeing a big drop-off in demand. The role of web developer has been hit hard by low-code, no code platforms that allow people to build their own websites quickly and easily.

The Davos agenda

The jobs of the future and the widespread disruption in the workplace will be high on the agenda at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2023. The theme for the 2023 event is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”.

It’s apparent from the Burning Glass report that business, educators and civil society must combine their efforts to ensure the workforce of the future is equipped with the skills to compete and thrive in the digital economy.

The Annual Meeting will provide a platform to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private cooperation.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkEducationArtificial IntelligenceDavos Agenda
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