Top skills to get you hired in 2016 and beyond

Tech trumps all skills as the most sought after around the world

By Feon Ang
Senior Director of Talent Solutions, Asia-Pacific and Japan, LinkedIn

Feon Ang

Feon Ang

Let’s face it. Economic uncertainties, combined with the slowdown in industry sectors such as Oil & Gas have had an impact on recruitment activities in many places, as businesses in Malaysia and globally adopt a more cautious approach. 2016 may be a tough year for students or professionals looking for jobs.

But, it’s not all gloom and doom. Despite the challenges, there are many opportunities for job-seekers if you have the right skills. To understand what skills may be more in demand going forward, we analysed the hiring and recruiting activities that occurred on LinkedIn in 2015. By doing so, we uncovered the hottest skills that students and professionals can use as a guide to better arm themselves when searching for jobs this year . Interestingly enough, we found that most of the top skills globally were technological skills.

This comes as no surprise as emerging trends like the Internet of Things and big data analytics are becoming increasingly important as key factors for companies to consider if they want to gain a competitive advantage in the ever-evolving marketplaces in which they operate.

As more companies continue to develop innovative and ground-breaking products and technologies, new opportunities and playing fields will emerge. One of the key ways for companies to capture these opportunities is to hire the right talent with the right skillsets, to stay ahead of the competition.

Here are the four key trends that inform the increasing demand for these top professional skills:

• Expansion in Cloud

In 2015, ‘cloud and distributed computing’ skill graduated from being a niche skillset to a more prominent skillset in the global workforce. As Malaysian companies continue to invest in cloud technologies , more job opportunities will emerge within this sector.

top 10 skills for 2016 by linkedin

Top 10 skills for 2016 by Linkedin

• Data is King

‘Statistical analysis and data mining’ has remained a consistent top skill over recent years. We live in an increasingly data-driven world, and businesses are aggressively hiring experts in data storage, retrieval and analysis to help them gain deep insights that inform decision-making. Government-linked organisations like the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) continue to emphasise the importance of developing and growing talents such as data scientists and engineers, a key imperative in accelerating the growth of the local big data industry.

• Rise in tech start-ups

Thanks to the support of private capital and encouragement from the government, Malaysia is fast becoming a hotspot for tech start-ups . With the continuing rise in new, innovative start-ups, technical skills will very much be in demand. After all, these companies will need to constantly build / enhance products that deliver on their value proposition to customers, in a very competitive landscape. We saw this in Silicon Valley and the same could happen in Malaysia.

• Need for Security

Another top skill identified this year is ‘network and information security’. With cyber criminals getting more aggressive in the way they wreak havoc on consumers and businesses, this is not too surprising . This calls for companies to keep abreast of cutting-edge technologies in this area, and continuously invest to strengthen their existing infrastructure. Based on Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report 2015, even larger, well-protected companies are susceptible to targeted attacks from cybercriminals. There is going to be a heightened need for companies to protect their information and data, and the privacy of their customers.

While this list of top skills can be a valuable cheat sheet or guide that points you in the right direction when it comes to acquiring new skills or enhancing existing ones, it may not be sufficient to guarantee success, given the competition for jobs.

Besides acquiring these top skills, students and professionals should also put their best foot forward in the online space to appeal to potential employers, or to be discovered. Based on our research, recruiters see social professional networks such as LinkedIn as a top source of quality hires.

It is therefore important to establish (if you have not already) and enhance your online profile to build your professional brand – one that helps you to stand out by highlighting your skills and accomplishments.

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