McKinsey predicts that 46% of workplace activities across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain could be automated by 2025. It estimates that 6 million low-qualified jobs could disappear in the process. However, there’s another side to this digital disruption. McKinsey also estimates that 15 million more skilled roles will be created over the same period. Human beings aren’t being made redundant by the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other new technologies. However, the skills for which we are valued will change.
Understanding exactly which skills are most needed is the essence of competitive advantage. That holds true for individuals – and for businesses. As a professional, knowing the skills businesses can’t get enough of provides you with valuable insight about your own career development – since learning them increases your personal value. For businesses, knowing the skills there’s most competition for informs your wider talent strategy – and enables learning paths to play a key role in them. There’s growing evidence that cultivating the most sought-after skills among your existing employees doesn’t just fill skills gaps – it also reduces turnover. In a recent LinkedIn survey, 43% of professionals (and 55% of those with advanced digital skills) say they would be prepared to move organisations to prevent their skills stagnating.
Which skills though, should businesses and professionals be prioritising? To find the answers, we analysed the skills that feature most often on the LinkedIn profiles of people being hired in Germany. We then cross-referenced this with the supply of these skills – the total number of LinkedIn members in Germany who possess them. In this way, we’ve built a picture of both supply and demand – and identified the most significant gaps between the two.
The most sought-after skills in Germany don’t just involve new coding languages and technical abilities. In LinkedIn’s recent Global Talent Trends survey, 82% of recruiters and talent managers said that soft skills are now more important to their company’s success than they had been – and 92% said they were either as important or more important than hard skills. That’s why our ranking includes both hard and soft skills. Both are equally important to your competitive advantage.
They’re intuitive, interpersonal, essential to the effective functioning of any team – and increasingly valued by businesses. While the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) leaves many technical skills vulnerable to automation, the deeply human capabilities known as ‘soft skills’ remain far beyond algorithms’ capabilities.
Here are the most sought-after soft skills in Germany in 2019:
Having a great product, a great platform or a great concept is one thing, but the key is persuading people to buy into it. As technology advances, the ability to turn that technology into revenue depends on persuasion skills.
While robots are great at optimizing old ideas, organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow. In a time of transformation and change, intuition and the capacity for imagination in combining different ideas and perspectives have never been more valued.
3. Time Management
It’s a timeless skill – and one that increases in value as digital transformation increases the potential for productivity and pressure. Distributed ways of working, co-ordinating teams in different time zones, also put time management at a premium.
With routine tasks more vulnerable to automation, businesses are looking for employees that can fill in the gaps, shifting their routines and approach as they move between very different tasks.
5. Problem Solving
A rapidly changing business landscape presents new kinds of business challenges – and demands innovative thinking in response. Problem Solving is becoming core to creativity and effectiveness across a range of different roles.
The hard skills Germany needs most in 2019
It’s easy to assume that emerging digital skills like AI and Data Science are the only ‘hard’ skills in demand in 2019. But although these skills are prominent on our list, they are not alone. In Germany, skills like Administrative Assistance and Foreign Languages haven’t been left redundant by automation. They show the continuing need for communicating effectively with empathy across cultures – and the value in emotionally intelligent, creative thinkers who can help leaders negotiate complexity and change. Meanwhile, the prominence of Analytical Reasoning shows the value of human intelligence working alongside the artificial type when it comes to deriving competitive advantage from data.
From the LinkedIn data, here are the hard skills businesses in Germany need most in 2019:
1. Analytical Reasoning
Companies are collecting more data than ever before, and they know that competitive advantage depends on deriving high-impact insights from it.
2. People Management
The world has changed from a “command-and-control” model toward leaders who can coach and empower. It’s a difficult skillset that few professionals possess.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Its official — the Age of AI is here. Businesses and professionals alike want to stay relevant, and start leveraging technology for growth.
4. Natural Language Processing
It’s the technology behind Alexa, Cortana and Google Home, controlling everything from cars to light bulbs. Mastering voice activation is becoming an essential element in delivering both products and services.
5. Scientific Computing
It’s an essential ingredient in solving problems and generating insights from today’s massive data sets.
6. Data Science
As with Scientific Computing, a grasp of the techniques required to interpret data at scale is recognized as the key to competitive advantage.
7. Cloud Computing
As the world rushes to deliver software and services via the cloud, companies are desperately searching for engineers with the skills to accommodate demand.
8. Foreign Languages
In a connected world, the ability to communicate effectively across languages and cultures remains one of the most useful skills around. The value of foreign languages increases further when you master applying your skills to different business problems: from simple translation to managing global content, and designing to fit cultural nuances.
9. Administrative Assistance
AI and digital personal assistants may be able to take care of routine administrative tasks in an increasingly intuitive way, but rapidly growing and dynamic businesses also need creative-minded, authoritative administrators with the emotional intelligence and people skills required to keep things running smoothly. These are in growing demand.
10. UX Design
It’s the key to making a digital world work for humans – where technical skills meet empathy and creativity.
What skills are you and your teams developing in 2019 to stay competitive? Share in the comments below. If you are keen to learn something new – start a free trial of LinkedIn Learning.
Written by Per-Fredrik Hagermark.