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To remain competitive in today’s workforce, it’s essential to be up-to-date on which workplace skills are currently most desirable to employers. Learn the right high income skills, and it could result in a bigger paycheck.

According to research from LinkedIn Learning, the top three motivators people had for learning in-demand skills in 2019 were to improve at a job (74%), to earn more money (58%) and to satisfy curiosity (46%). In some industries, particularly financial services, manufacturing, and technology companies, growth is outpacing the availability of human resources.

Technological advances can help with some job tasks, but there is still a need for workers with specific employable skills. If you have expertise in a craft not many other people know how to do, you’ll have your pick of job opportunities in 2020 and moving forward.

The LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning Report collected data from more than 660 million professionals and over 20 million jobs to find the 15 most in-demand hard and soft skills in 2020. Consider this as an employability skills checklist if you want to advance your career and income.

These talents are in the highest demand relative to the number of people who have those skills. While many companies still seek out creative and persuasive employees who have hard skills, such as cloud computing and analytical reasoning, within just one year, the list has changed significantly.

This shows the importance of continuously growing your skillset to have an advantage in the workforce. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s most in-demand skills (also shown in the top in-demand skills infographic below) and how you can develop them.

in demand workplace hard and soft skills

Most In-Demand Workplace Soft Skills (Employability Skills)

Soft skills in the workplace are a combination of interpersonal skills, social and emotional intelligence, attitudes, and personality traits. These employability skills are important in the workplace and show you can collaborate with team members, communicate effectively, demonstrate adaptability, and generally deliver an effective job performance.

1. Creativity

Creativity was also the top soft skill in demand for 2019. For years, companies have realized the value of hiring creative employees. In 2014, 94% of hiring managers believed it was crucial to consider creativity when choosing a job candidate.

Recent studies show that groups with even minimal training in creativity tools and principles create 350% as many ideas during problem-solving sessions compared to groups without training. Furthermore, these ideas are calculated to be 415% more original.

While some people consider creativity to be innate, this simply isn’t true. You can train yourself to be more creative.

→ LinkedIn boasts creativity classes such as: 

creativity is essential

2. Persuasion

Persuasion was also ranked as the second top soft skill for 2019. Persuasive people know their audience and how to get their attention. They know how to make connections with people and make others feel safe and heard. They likely would do very well with providing networking tips for job seekers.

A persuasive person is a “people person” and that’s valuable for any type of team. Persuasion is a very learnable skill and LinkedIn has a few courses focusing on how to improve your persuasion skills. These courses below will touch on what makes a good leader, how leaders vs. managers differ, and how you can add value to your organization.

→ They include: 

soft skills leading without formal authority

3. Collaboration

Collaboration also has the same ranking as in 2019. Working effectively with other people forces you to think broader. According to a report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, teams made with people from diverse backgrounds (in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) perform better by up to 35% and are more creative.

Having excellent collaboration skills can also make employees more productive. Having respect from your peers can enhance your desire to work.

→  If you don’t have enough collaboration examples to boast about, you can enhance your resume with courses such as LinkedIn’s: 

soft skills teamwork

4. Adaptability

Adaptability also held the same spot in 2019. With changes in technology, politics, the environment, the economy, and more, it’s essential to hire candidates who adapt to change well. Adaptable people are resilient and less likely than other people to give up in the face of challenges.

It’s easy to see why companies want to hire people who can adapt to a variety of circumstances quickly.

→ To improve your adaptability skills, consider LinkedIn’s courses:

soft skills adaptability manager


5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is new this year to the most in-demand skills list. It refers to the ability to identify and handle your emotions, as well as those of others. According to a U.S. online survey, 71% of respondents said they valued an employee’s emotional intelligence more than the person’s IQ.

People with high emotional intelligence are better at working in teams, being flexible, and adjusting to change. While emotional intelligence may seem like another skill some people have naturally, courses can help to teach you emotional intelligence skills.

→ Consider LinkedIn’s courses: 

soft skills social success work

Most In-Demand Hard Skills on Resumes

Hard skills are considered more teachable and measurable than soft skills.  The following hard skills list represents the most in-demand hard skills found on resumes.

As you will notice, not all are tech skills on a resume, but also include analytical skills useful for parsing through data and identifying trends through critical thinking as well as the ability to sell products and services.

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1. Blockchain

Blockchain went from being nonexistent on LinkedIn’s skills list in 2019 to topping it in 2020. Typically, when you think of blockchain, you think of how it’s used to support cryptocurrency. However, it has evolved to securely store and transport any digital asset.

Blockchain tools can also help with HR tasks, such as identity validation, background checks, and payment processing. While blockchain is a valuable skill, it’s very challenging to hire for, so having knowledge in this area makes a candidate extremely competitive.

→ LinkedIn Learning has blockchain courses such as: 

hard skills blockchain basics

2. Cloud Computing

Last year, cloud computing was the #1 most in-demand hard skill and it’s still highly desired this year. A majority of companies are on the cloud. Businesses continue to need people with cloud computing skills to drive architecture and delivery of cloud systems.

→ To learn about cloud computing on LinkedIn Learning, try these courses: 

hard skills cloud native development

3. Analytical Reasoning

Analytical Reasoning keeps its same ranking as in 2019. It’s the ability to look at information and find patterns or themes within it. This employs a rational decision making model for arriving at data-driven insights and conclusions.  Further, these skills allow you to consider the key elements in any situation and how they relate to each other.

While parts of analytical reasoning may seem like soft skills, it typically is shown through hard skills such as computer programming, knowledge of machine learning, or experience with data analytics tools.

→ Courses from Linkedin Learning that teach analytical reasoning skills include: 

hard skills power bi training

4. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has dropped two spots from last year, but is still a highly coveted skill from an employer’s perspective. LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report ranks “Artificial Intelligence Specialist” as the top emerging job with 75% annual growth over the past four years.

People with artificial intelligence knowledge can help companies create more personalized and innovative products and this is something organizations are willing to pay well to get done.  These artificial intelligence engineers will also want to avoid complicating intensive programs by minimizing technical debt incurred along the way.

However, while the demand for people who specialize in artificial intelligence is high, the supply of people with the necessary skills is low. Artificial intelligence experts are often skilled in machine learning, deep learning, Python, and more.

→ To begin training in the artificial intelligence industry, consider these LinkedIn Learning courses: 

big data artificial intelligence

5. UX Design

UX design keeps the same rank it held in 2019. UX (user experience) designers ensure products are easy to navigate and human-centric. These designers aren’t just focused on how a product looks.

They deeply research how a product should be designed and can back up their decisions with data. If you’re in the design field and want a competitive edge, learn about UX.

→ A few of the courses LinkedIn Learning provides on the topic include: 

ux design

6. Business Analysis

Business analysis has jumped up ten spots from last year. Some companies have a dedicated job role of “business analyst.” Business analysts facilitate solutions to current problems and translate stakeholders’ needs into language the rest of their team can understand.

They have a ground-level understanding of the work as well as a holistic view of what is going on.  Not all companies can hire a full-time business analyst and instead look for other employees to have an understanding of business analysis.

→ To learn more about business analysis through LinkedIn Learning, consider these courses:

business analysis foundations course

7. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is new to the most in-demand skills list this year. According to entrepreneurship expert and millionaire Neil Patel, no other marketing form is more cost-effective than affiliate marketing.  Any effective marketing mix should include affiliate marketing.

In fact, affiliate marketing is a great way to grow your personal brand awareness, increase SEO, and diversify income streams. Done correctly, you can use content marketing to drive sales for your business.

It’s no wonder businesses seek employees with these skills. Whether you’re looking to learn affiliate marketing for a new job or to stand out at your current one, it could benefit you to look into LinkedIn Learning’s courses on the topic.

→ A few of these include: 

influencer marketing

8. Sales

Sales holds its same spot as in 2019. As there will always be products and services to sell, there will always be a need for salespeople. Companies want employees who understand the sales funnel, know how to manage a sales team, can get their product in front of the right eyes, and know how to close a deal.

→ To learn more about sales, consider these LinkedIn Learning’s courses:

social selling foundations course

9. Scientific Computing

Scientific computing is up three spots from last year. It’s often referred to as computational science or scientific computation. Data science professionals, software architects, and engineers are the people most likely to have scientific computing skills.

Any company that wants to develop machine learning models or apply statistical and analytical approaches to extensive data sets needs scientific computing experts.

→ LinkedIn Learning provides courses on scientific computing such as: 

parallel and concurrent programming python

10. Video Production

Video production is down three spots from last year, but still a skill highly in demand. An average user spends 88% more time on websites with video.  Video isn’t going away any time soon.

→ To advance your video production skills, consider these Linkedin Learning courses: 

social media selling strategy course

Top High-Income Skills to Learn for Making Money in 2022

Some of the most in-demand skills remain consistent over the years, while others pop up suddenly. Further, not all in-demand workplace skills are hard skills found in tech. Rather, employers also seek non-tech skills, or soft skills, in the workplace.

Either way, learning the skills employers want most makes you a valuable employee and value gives you leverage. Plus, learning new skills keeps your work interesting.

Sign up for LinkedIn Learning to learn the most in-demand skills relevant to your industry and keep yourself competitive. 

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.