Every year, Fuel50 compiles an analysis of the most-rated skills across our user base. The list is comprised of 80 specialist skills (domain specific technical skills) and 20 capabilities (interpersonal/behavioural skills). And every year, we marvel at and are inspired by the results.
This year, we noted 54 skills making a grand entrance to the list – Product Knowledge, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Disruptive Innovation, Digital Vision, and several sales-related skills. Given the tough economic environment, sales skills are no longer confined to the sales department but are critical for success across functions in organizations. LinkedIn’s analysis of top skills in 2023 affirmed our findings, indicating that sales skills are used across a variety of functions for different reasons i.e., by HR to source suitable candidates, finance to secure funding and sales to close and retain customers1. Modern leadership demands sales mastery as a non-negotiable competency to gain a competitive advantage and drive an organization to sustained profitability2.
Other skills such as Microsoft Office, Product Development, Business Process Management, and Process Control silently exited the list from the Top 100. In the current world of work, basic computer skills such as Microsoft Office are the expectation, and skills related to Artificial Intelligence, are the aspiration. Udemy discovered comparable findings in their list of in-demand skills for 2023, with technical skills such as Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing competing for top spots3.
Economic conditions and strategic decisions have likely led to the decreased prioritization of Product Development and an increased focus on expanding Global market reach (aligning to the newly added Market Research, External Market Knowledge, Marketing Trends, and Market Expansion skills)4.
Skills that maintained a position on the Top 100 Hot Skills List include Selling, Cross-Functional Collaboration, Big Data Management and Analytics, and Continuous Improvement. We expect these skills to hold their ground for some time to come!
Problem-solving takes pole position as the #1 capability in 2023. Unsurprisingly, as in the age of disruption, the advantage lies with those who can identify and address complex challenges by finding and implementing creative solutions5. Udemy3, LinkedIn1 and the World Economic Forum8 identified similar results in their analyses of top skills.
As organizations sought to batten down the hatches, the significance of the capability, Process Improvement, grew – requiring individuals to actively seek out and contribute to strategies to maximize efficiencies. And not only to come up with such strategies but to execute them and ‘get things done’ (Execution Focus).
Interpersonal skills remain a key priority in business with Managing Teams and Building Relationships. American Businessman and bestselling author Alan Cohen put it best when he said, “Success in business depends more on relationships than spreadsheets”.
So, what can we expect in 2024 and beyond?
According to a comprehensive World Economic Forum report published in May 2023, the upwards trend of cognitive skills is expected to continue over the next five years6. In the Fuel50 Talent Ontology, we might see capabilities such as Analytical Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Agile Decision-Making share the limelight with Problem-Solving.
Socio-emotional skills are also likely to step to the fore, with capabilities such as Resilience, Agility, Courage, Creative Mindset, and Curiosity poised for a podium finish4.
Concerning technical skills, it’s probable that the significance of digital transformation and skills related to research and development will continue to expand. Specialist skills such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and other digital skills (Digital Fluency, Digital Culture, etc.) are imperative for organizations to remain competitive and stay ahead of the curve.
Skills associated with research, including Research and Development, Concept Testing, Scientific Research, and Product Improvement, will become more prevalent for informed decision-making and strategy development7.
*To request a full copy of our 2023 Hot Skills List, please contact us at email@example.com.
All in all, it is an exciting time in the skills space and we look forward to continuing to partner with you in Fuelling the Future! As we navigate the dynamic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, it is increasingly clear that adaptability, technological proficiency, and a commitment to continuous learning will be paramount. The future belongs to those who invest in honing their skills, embracing change, and staying ahead of the curve.
3. Udemy Learning Trends Report (2023). https://business.udemy.com/2023-workplace-learning-trends-report/?utm_source=organic-search&utm_medium=google
4. Airswift (2023). https://www.airswift.com/blog/expand-into-global-markets-quickly
6. World Economic Forum (2023). Future of Jobs: These are the most in-demand core skills in 2023 | World Economic Forum (weforum.org).
Written by Fuel50’s Workforce Architecture team
Contributors: Shelley-Ann Viljoen and Natalie Mabaso
Fuel50’s dedicated team of Workforce Architects and Industrial and Organizational Psychologists feed the Fuel50 Talent Ontology, train our ethical AI with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion design principles at heart, and support best-in-class organizations using Fuel50 to transform and future-proof their talent strategy and workforce architecture.