Employment Trends: Top 10 U.S. Workforce Skills For 2018

The Opportunity professional network identifies workforce trends in the United States heading into 2018 among it's 2 million+ members.


As we head into 2018, Opportunity examines the skill sets that are in demand (and being offered by) both hiring managers and job seekers across the United States. Additionally, we've compared these recent statistics to our past findings in 2016 and 2017

What We Found

Heading into 2016 in the US alone, hiring managers continued to make Direct Sales and Customer Service the top 2 sought after skill sets. Six of the top 10 most desired skill sets in demand across all Job Postings listed on Opportunity by hiring managers remained more or less the same as prior years.  The exception being an increased demand for Accounting skills, which took the #3 spot after not appearing in the top 10 the prior 2 years (perhaps a direct reflection of new tax laws recently passed in the U.S.).  Other new skills added to the top 10 list also include Administrative, Nursing and Entrepreneurship skills. (Fig 1) while skills such as .Net, Project Management and Salesforce are seeing less demand. Entrepreneurship as a sought after skill by hiring managers (i.e. companies) is interesting as this skill set / trait is often antithetical to the idea of working for someone else.

Entering 2016 Entering 2017 Entering 2018
Direct Sales Direct Sales Direct Sales
Business Development Customer Service Customer Service
Sales Management  Account Mangement  Accounting
Account Management  Sales Management  Business Development
.NET Business Development  Java
Project Management  Salesforce  Sales Management
Customer Service  Java  Administrative
Accounting  .NET  Account Management
Java  Project Management  Entrepreneurship
Salesforce  Sales Operations  Nursing

Figure 1:  
Skills sought by U.S. hiring managers

Fortunately for the overall job market, Job Seekers tended to list the majority of the most in demand skills sought by Hiring Managers (Fig 1) within their list of skillsets (Fig 2) on their Opportunity profile. In fact, many of the new skillsets listed by Job Seekers were also new to the Hiring Manager top 10 list (Accounting, Administrative, etc.).  The exception being a surge in job seekers claiming to have Adobe Skills (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.). Unfortunately for Job Seekers with Adobe skills, that skillset was nowhere near the top 10 in terms of demand by Hiring Managers.  In fact, that particular skill set was not listed among our top 50. Lastly, skillsets such as Microsoft related (Office, Excel, etc.) and Leadership dropped out of the top 10 from previous years. 

Entering 2016 Entering 2017 Entering 2018
Project Management Project Management Account Management
Business Development Business Development Administrative
Account Management  Account Mangement  Adobe Suite (related)
Leadership Customer Service Direct Sales
Customer Service Sales Management Accounting
Sales Management  Microsoft Office  Project Management
Operations Management  Leadership Sales Management
Business Analysis  Direct Sales Business Management
Microsoft Office Operations Management  Business Development
Change Management Microsoft Excel Customer Service
Figure 2:  
Skills offered by U.S. workforce


In conclusion, this snapshot from Opportunity suggests a high degree of equilibrium in terms of what hiring managers are demanding of their employees and what skills are being offered by the prospective candidates.  Despite the continued advancements in technology (particularly A.I.) and news surrounding the inevitable shift in the job market, jobs that require communication skills such as Sales, Customer Support, and Business Development are still in very high demand by companies across the U.S.  

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Datasource: Opportunity

Opportunity shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described or information contained on these pages. The data, information and related graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such. Opportunity gives no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, utility or completeness of this information.