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LinkedIn’s Top Skills list reveals who’s in demand

LinkedIn's Top Skills for 2016 List is a snapshot of employers' most sought-after technical and personal attributes

The league table is compiled by analysis of recruitment interest on the site over an annual period and shows what organisations are looking for in the ideal candidate.

“And the geeks shall inherit the Earth” goes the saying and LinkedIn’s list of Top Skills for 2016 bears this out. LinkedIn, the largest network of professionals in the world, unveiled its 2016 list recently. It contains a mix of technical and ‘human’ aptitudes that are considered most desirable by employers. ‘Statistical analysis and data mining’ has again come first, for the second year in succession. UK employees with specialist technical skills are in strong demand, with ‘Perl/Python/Ruby’ and ‘Network and information security’ making their first appearance in the rankings, reflecting industry trends. Since computer programming languages are universal, tech knowledge can be taken anywhere, which counts as a significant advantage for candidates thinking about relocation.

The UK Top 10

1 – Statistical analysis and data mining
2 – Middleware and integration software
3 – HR benefits and compensation
4 – Web architecture and development framework
5 – Mobile development
6 – Perl/Python/Ruby
7 – SEO/SEM marketing
8 – Network and information security
9 – Data presentation
10 – Data engineering and data warehousing

So where does this leave the millions of talented workers who are not skilled in regression analysis or object-oriented programming?

While businesses may conduct a forensic mission to seek out the code-monkeys, every company needs the sparkling communicator, the jovial entertainer, the admin obsessive and the tea-and-sympathy dispenser. In fact, UK recruiters who took part in the survey declared that soft skills are proving hard to find – which is surely a topic worthy of discussion in itself. Whatever the reasons for this aptitude deficit, recruiters admitted that it has a negative effect on productivity. The personal qualities that organisations would like to see in candidates are:

1 – Responsibility
2 – Strategic thinking
3 – Communication
4 – Persistence

But here’s the rub. Some of these come with age. Some with experience (otherwise known as ‘wisdom’). They can’t be bought, sold, bottled or learned from a manual.

Darain Faraz, LinkedIn’s Head of Global Consumer Communications, explained at the launch of this year’s list that although industry trends mean that some skills appear on the list and then disappear from it, the demand for technical skills appears to be more permanent. Noting that ‘HR Benefits and Compensation’ had jumped 18 points to appear on this year’s list, he reasoned that with only 40 per cent of professionals feeling fulfilled by their employment (according to LinkedIn’s recent Work Satisfaction Survey), organisations are realising how important it is to have a strong HR team, if employees are to feel more satisfied in their work.

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, recently suggested that as levels of automation in the workplace increase, employees may ultimately have a competitive advantage over computers, when it comes to the soft skills needed for problem solving and innovation, such as creativity, reasoning and emotional intelligence. In these areas, it’s likely that employees will still continue to have the upper hand over machines.

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