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The Top Skills Professionals Need in 2024

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November 9th, 2023

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Every job demands its own unique set of skills. In the sales industry, professionals need to combine soft skills in communication and collaboration, with technical skills like lead qualification. In the marketing world, professionals need to have high levels of creativity, as well as the ability to work with critical tools for SEO analysis, market research, and reporting. 

However, some skills are crucial in virtually every environment – particularly if you’re looking for high-income roles. As the world evolves, the in-demand skills prioritized by business leaders and hiring managers can change too. This makes it crucial for professionals to evaluate and understand which “high income skills” they should be nurturing for future success.

Here’s your complete guide to the top skills employers will be focusing on in 2024.

The Soft Skills in High Demand for 2024

Professional skills are usually divided into two areas: soft skills, and hard skills. Both are equally important to your success in any role. Soft skills include the non-technical abilities that make you more effective in your job, from communication, to the ability to manage stress.

Increasingly, soft skills are becoming more important in the business landscape. Not only are they essential to your productivity and performance, but they’re also extremely transferable. The skills you develop here can make you more suitable for various roles in different industries. 

Some of the key soft skills worth focusing in 2024 include:

  1. Adaptability and Resilience

The world is changing at an incredible rate right now, with digital transformation, new working styles, and evolving customer expectations. Employers in all industries need their team members to be resilient, and adaptable enough to thrive in an unpredictable landscape. 

If you can adjust quickly to new circumstances, learn new skills quickly, and bounce back from potential setbacks, you’ll be more likely to thrive in a competitive role. Many sales professionals will already have high levels of resilience and adaptability, thanks to experience dealing with complex buyer journeys, objections, and workplace changes.

  1. Time and Project Management Skills

Today’s employees might have more tools to help them improve their workflows, such as automation and AI, but the pressure on teams to perform efficiently is greater than ever. Time management and project management skills can make you an incredible resource for an employer. 

While time management looks at your ability to manage your own workflows and schedule, project management looks at how you can extend these abilities to leading, guiding, and overseeing teams and projects. Both can have a positive impact on your results in any role.

  1. Collaboration Skills

Today, very few jobs are entirely independent roles, which don’t require employees to connect or collaborate with their colleagues. However, collaboration is becoming more difficult to master, in a world of distributed hybrid and remote workers. 

In many industries, your ability to collaborate is becoming a crucial, high-demand skill. For instance, in the sales landscape, collaborating consistently with other professionals in the customer service, marketing, and sales sectors, can help to improve your outcomes and increase your revenue.

  1. Communication Skills

Communication and collaboration skills typically go hand-in-hand. In today’s world, exceptional communication is crucial to ensuring you can stay aligned with your team members, guide other employees, and even deliver exceptional customer service. 

Cultivating excellent communication skills means learning how to connect with others across a range of platforms and environments (online and offline), with a focus on transparency. You should be able to build rapport with others, share information clearly, and adapt to different communication styles.

  1. Creative Thinking

In the same vein as “adaptability”, creative thinking skills are in high demand in the modern world, as companies need to come up with unique solutions to ever-changing challenges. The best employees don’t just respond well to changes in their landscape, they help to facilitate positive change, with research, insights, and innovation. 

According to the Future of Jobs Report for 2023, cognitive skills like creative thinking, flexibility, curiosity, and agility will gain more value in the next five years, helping businesses to scale and grow.

The Top Skills for 2024: Hard/Technical Skills

While soft skills look at abilities that are highly transferable and innate, technical or “hard skills” concentrate on the abilities that prepare a professional for a specific role. In the sales industry for instance, social selling, lead qualification, and prospecting are all examples of technical skills.

While in-demand technical skills can vary depending on your role or industry, some of the most valuable talents businesses are looking for today include:

  1. AI and Machine Learning Skills

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are transforming virtually every aspect of the modern business landscape. Generative AI tools, in particular, are helping to boost employee productivity, enhance creativity, and automate repetitive tasks, leading to greater business efficiency. 

Today’s employers are looking for professionals who can not only manage, create, and code AI solutions, but also adapt to using these tools in their workflows. If you’re comfortable using AI tools for everything from content creation to lead prospecting, you’re more likely to thrive in 2024.

  1. Cybersecurity Skills

As technology continues to evolve, and digital transformation occurs at an incredible rate across every industry, the threats facing business security are growing. Today, virtually every employee needs to know how to secure their assets with the right passwords, encryption tools, and security apps.

Additionally, you need to be aware of how to avoid phishing scams, ransomware, and other challenges. Professionals with a deeper knowledge of how to implement cybersecurity policies and strategies will be particularly valuable to businesses moving into 2024. Think about expanding your knowledge of the cybersecurity landscape. 

  1. Cloud Computing Skills

Demand for cloud computing skills as a “hard skill” has increased as companies embrace hybrid and remote working strategies. Today, more organizations are migrating processes and technologies into the cloud, accessing tools for networking, servers, software, analytics, and communications.

Primarily, many businesses are looking for professionals who can help them to adopt and optimize cloud technology to increase accessibility and reduce infrastructure costs. Cloud experts help companies migrate to the cloud, while ensuring data security. But confidence with cloud technologies can be a valuable skill to showcase on your resume too. 

  1. Data Science and Analytical Skills

“Data analysis” is one of the leading high-income skills in the world today. After all, companies are generating and using more data than ever before in a digital landscape. Experts who know how to assess this data and transform it into actionable insights pave the way for business growth. 

With a basic knowledge of data science and analytics, professionals can become more effective in various roles, from sales, to marketing, thanks to improved research abilities. With a deeper understanding of data science, you can pursue various valuable positions, from “data analyst” to “data scientist” and even “data expert”. 

  1. DevOps

Currently, there’s a massive skill shortage in the DevOps landscape, with 87% of employers struggling to attract and retain top talent. DevOps combines software development and IT operations to automate and improve the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes.

As software and applications grow increasingly important to business operations, leaders are looking for DevOps professionals who can bridge the gap between development and operations, streamlining processes, and reducing the risk of errors. 

  1. Developer Skills

Alongside “DevOps” skills, software and web development capabilities are becoming increasingly valuable in today’s digital world. Companies are searching for professionals that can help them to build, customize, and optimize software for their various business processes. 

Developing your skills with programming languages like Python and Java, learning how to use algorithms and software architecture, and experimenting with development tools will make you a more attractive employee in 2024. However, it’s worth noting developer skills aren’t as transferrable as other in-demand skills like data analysis, or cloud computing.

  1. Metaverse Skills

Metaverse skills are all of the abilities that empower a person to create, optimize, or use metaverse solutions, like the blockchain, decentralized platforms, and even extended reality. Though interest in the metaverse has died down in the last year, replaced by hype for artificial intelligence, opportunities in this landscape continue to grow. 

Innovators are creating more advanced solutions for extended reality interactions, and businesses in various industries are adopting metaverse solutions like digital twins to boost productivity. If you know how to create or leverage metaverse skills in your role, you might help to drive your business into the new era of digital transformation. 

  1. Content Creation and Management

Finally, content creation and management skills are still in high demand moving into 2024. Although the AI content generation market (growing at a rate of 27.3% CAGR) is simplifying content creation, go-to-market teams still need to find ways of standing out from the competition. 

Video production, graphic design, storytelling, and similar skills will remain important for every company looking to capture the attention of their target audience and nurture leads. Consider cultivating your content creation and management skills with online courses and workshops. 

Essential Business Skills Still Crucial in 2024

Outside of the in-demand skills (both soft and hard) mentioned above, there are also some crucial skills that have remained consistently important throughout the years. Even as technology and business landscapes change, employers are still looking for professionals with strong:

  • Leadership skills: Leadership is a timeless skill, crucial in all industries. It’s not about having authority over other people in your business. It’s about demonstrating your ability to inspire others, make tough decisions, and solve problems. Cultivating leadership skills, by taking the initiative to lead projects, and learning from peers will help you thrive in 2024. 
  • Independence: Demand for independence and self-motivation has increased in the last couple of years, with the rise of remote and hybrid working. Today, companies are focusing on looking for employees that can preserve high levels of efficiency and productivity, regardless of which challenges they face. If you can set your own goals, monitor your own performance, and make independent decisions, you’ll excel in a range of roles.
  • Continuous learning: Developing in-demand skills isn’t something you only do once in your career. It’s an ongoing and dynamic process, which involves adapting to the latest trends and changes in your industry. A skill for continuous learning and improvement, supported by a “growth mindset”, will ensure you can be more adaptable in any role.

All of these skills apply to various roles and industries, and can significantly improve your chances of getting offers for high-income and executive-level jobs. 

Developing In-Demand Skills in 2024

As mentioned above, there’s no one-size-fits-all set of in-demand skills that will apply to every professional or role. We’ve outlined some of the most significant high-income skills that will be relevant to employers above. Now, it’s up to you to decide which skills to cultivate, and how you’re going to improve your abilities. To do this:

  • Identify relevant skills: Think about your career goals, the demands of your industry, and your current abilities. Using this information, identify the skills that will help to push you towards your professional targets. 
  • Find the right resources: Take advantage of the resources available for developing your skills both online and offline. Options range from communities like the HardSkill Exchange, to online courses, mentorship programs, and workshops.
  • Work with a coach or mentor: Coaches and mentors aren’t just great educational resources. They can also give you much needed guidance, direction, and support as you work towards your professional goals. 
  • Practice: Constantly look for opportunities to practice your new skills. Take on different projects, volunteer to tackle challenges in your workplace, and experiment with different processes. Practice makes perfect, after all. 

Ready to start cultivating the skills you need to thrive in your career? Join the Hard Skill Exchange to network and learn from a huge range of professionals in your industry. 

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