Social Media, Customer Service Top In-Demand Skills

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Customer service is the most in-demand skill for sales professionals today, LinkedIn revealed in its 2023 Workplace Learning Report.

LinkedIn’s annual list identifies which job skills are the most marketable and shows the types of skills that will make it easier for people to find new jobs and demand the best compensation packages for their services.

According to the report, talent development professionals continue to contend with skills shortages and turnover risk, with more than nine in 10 (93 percent) of organizations concerned about employee retention.

Following customer service, LinkedIn says the most in-demand skills for sales are, in order, management, communication, marketing, leadership, account management, sales management, business development, relationship management (CRM), and teamwork.

“While the ability to adapt is critical for B2B sellers in this macro environment, it’s interesting to see foundational skills bubble up as some of the top priorities for companies,” says Alyssa Merwin, LinkedIn’s global vice president of sales solutions. “Back to basics seems to be the mantra of the day, and strong foundations in skills like communication, account management, and teamwork are key to unlocking growth right now.”

The report also identifies the most in-demand skills for marketing, with social media at the top. The other nine most in-demand marketing skills are management, digital marketing, communication, strategy marketing, strategy leadership, project management, advertising, and customer service.

“Marketing’s rank as one of the top 10 most in-demand skills globally shows how important it is for companies to invest in their brands, deliver the right messages to the right audiences at the right time, and stay top of mind for future buyers,” says Jim Habig, LinkedIn’s vice president of marketing.

The LinkedIn report also indicates that people who are trained in sales and marketing could likely do well in other parts of the organization as well. The second most in-demand skill for the entire company, regardless of position, was communication, placing right behind management.

The demand for management skills indicates that companies are looking for talent to step up and manage teams no matter their environment. “Brushing up on the latest tactics for this in-demand skill can help you be the professional that your company (or the next) can’t do without,” LinkedIn says.

The other most in-demand skills organization-wide were, in order, customer service, leadership, sales, project management, research, analytical skills, marketing, and teamwork.

Though teamwork was at the bottom of the top 10, in its separate learning and development report, LinkedIn found that 83 percent of organizations want to be more people-centric.

Though the LinkedIn report did not get into customer experience skills, Forrester Research did publish a separate report in which it suggests that CX leaders who are hiring this year should prioritize candidates with critical data, design, and journey skills. CX leaders should also find opportunities to use their teams’ skills beyond the usual scope of CX work, deepening the teams’ value to their organizations and cementing their place at the center of future customer obsession transformations, the firm recommends.

The LinkedIn research also delved into the most in-demand hard skills for employees in marketing, sales, or other departments in the organization. These skills, which will improve employees’ value to current or prospective employers, are mostly technical in nature.

So it’s not surprising that software development is the most in-demand hard skill, according to LinkedIn. The next most in-demand skill—and one that is meaningful for marketers—is Structured Query Language (SQL), a standard programming language used to manage relational databases and act on the data within them. This (or use of other analytics tools) is becoming more meaningful for marketers, especially as the economy tightens and companies focus on tightening their target marketing efforts to focus on prospects most likely to buy and customers most likely to make repeat purchases.

Following software development and marketing, LinkedIn’s most in-demand hard skills are, in order, finance, Python (a programming language), Java, data analysis, cloud computing, operations, and CRM.

LinkedIn’s research also found that:

  • Seventy percent of employees say that during times of uncertainty, they are continuing to focus on building their careers, even if they are not currently in their ideal roles.
  • Seventy percent of respondents say skills are more important than academic degrees to succeed in their careers.
  • Eighty-nine percent agree that proactively building employee skills will help navigate the evolving future of work. 

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