Employment Trends: Top 10 Global Workforce Skills 2016 vs. 2017

The Opportunity professional network identifies workforce trends among it's 1.2 million members worldwide.


As we close out 2016, Opportunity decided to take a look back over the past year at the skill sets both sought and offered by hiring managers and job seekers, respectively.

What We Found

Heading into 2016 in the US alone, hiring managers placed a premium on filling sales positions and this demand appears to have strengthened going into 2017. Four out of the top five skills sought by hiring managers entering the upcoming year were sales focused with customer service rising up the ranks most aggressively (Fig 1).

Secondarily, specific skills, such as experience with Salesforce, which made a sizable jump heading into 2017, and familiarity with particular developer languages (e.g., Java, .NET) maintained their appeal.

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

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

In contrast, most of the skills offered by the workforce remained stable (Fig 2). Project and account management, as well as business development skills maintained the Top 3 skills offered, whereas leadership, customer service and sales management remained in the Top 10.

Entering 2016 Entering 2017
Project Management Project Management
Business Development Business Development
Account Management  Account Mangement 
Leadership Customer Service
Customer Service Sales Management
Sales Management  Microsoft Office 
Operations Management  Leadership
Business Analysis  Direct Sales
Microsoft Office Operations Management 
Change Management Microsoft Excel
Figure 2:  
Skills offered by U.S. workforce

Global Outlook

The global view was similar but not as clear cut as the US totals. Entering both 2016 and 2017, sales, business development and customer service skills maintained their Top 10 position. However, both direct sales and customer service displayed an increase in demand. More specific skills such as software development or accounting skills remained stable (Fig 3).

Entering 2016 Entering 2017
Account Management Direct Sales
.NET Business Development
Business Development Customer Service
Accounting  Sales Management 
Sales Management .NET
Project Management  Account Management
Direct Sales Java 
Java Accounting
Mechanical Engineering Project Management 
Customer Service Salesforce
Figure 3:  
Skills sought by Global Hiring Managers

Within the workforce, the top skills offered remained largely unchanged from 2016 to 2017 (Fig 4).

Entering 2016 Entering 2017
Project Management Project Management
Business Development Business Development
Account Management  Account Mangement 
Sales Management Sales Management 
Leadership Microsoft Office
Accounting Customer Service
Customer Service  Operations Management
Operations Management Leadership
Business Analysis Accounting
Microsoft Office Language - English
Figure 4:  
Skills offered by Global Workforce


In conclusion, this snapshot from Opportunity suggests hiring managers are maintaining a strong focus on finding skilled sales people entering 2017 with an additional focus on technical skills associated with software development and accounting. As the economy continues to improve, there is a likelihood that more job opportunities will present themselves as companies will seek to increase their revenue and invest in their product or service offerings. Keep sharpening those skills!

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Datasource: Opportunity

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