Top Skills Employers Are Looking For in 2017

As people get ready for the New Year, one of the most common resolutions isn’t just to lose weight, learn a new language or start a new fitness routine.

Many people want to leave behind their old job, the one that causes stress, pays too little or makes someone feel underappreciated, for a better career and more stable financial opportunity.

LinkedIn recently issued a press release noting that the number of job applications spiked in October, showing that people are looking in anticipation.

However, with many individuals looking for jobs and many companies wrapped up with year activities, hiring trends aren’t as consistent and might not be a high as they typically are after January.

That makes now an excellent time to get an early jump on your New Year’s Resolution to learn a new skill, by honing some of the top skills to get hired when 2017 rolls around. These skills, as identified by LinkedIn, are the ones employers most need in candidates at the moment.


  • Cloud and distributed computing, for the second year in the row, has topped the list of most desired skills, with the demand increasing around the world. With so many technological advances and the expansion of many data centers moving their hosting to cloud-based platforms, companies are looking to hire experts in the field. Also important in 2017 will be skills in understanding and managing storage systems.
  • Finding, analyzing, and presenting data and statistics are crucial skills as companies look to grow and stay relevant and competitive in their markets. Due to this, statistical analysis and data mining skills are being sought after. Globally, data presentation was eighth on the list which shows that companies want to make information usable.
  • Technology development showed up on the list in a variety of countries, indicating that companies are still looking for employees with expertise in this area. Mobile development showed up seventh on the list of most important skills, and it will continue to be important as the number of mobile phone users is expected to reach 7 billion in 2019.
  • User interface design is the fifth on the list, while web architecture and development framework is third.
  • Middleware and Integration Software experience also made the global list.

Some of these skills, like the demand for employees with user interface skills, have increased through the years as companies make sure that their users are able to properly interact with them.

If you have some of these skills, start working on deepening your knowledge and experience. If you’ve been waiting to learn something new, picking one of these off the list could help you land your next job.

Access 9,000 Professional Development Courses, Free On LinkedIn

LinkedIn Learning is a paid subscription service that offers more than 9,000 online courses.

The courses are geared towards development of professional/career skills and cover topics such as:

  • Sales and Business Development.
  • Change Management.
  • Leadership.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Career Development.
  • Job Search Techniques.
  • General Business Management.
  • And lots more…

For 1 week, you can take any of the courses for free, without signing up for anything.

Typically, the paid subscription costs $29.9 per month and can also be accessed through LinkedIn premium accounts (Job Seekers, Sales Navigator, etc).

So head on over to the LinkedIn Learning website and see if anything catches your attention.

Happy learning!

Do You Trust Your Employer And Colleagues?

Not surprisingly, a workplace without trust brings about disengaged, unproductive, and non-innovative employees.

A recent survey by EY has shown that employees who have a high level of trust are happier, stay at the company longer, are more engaged, and more inclined to recommend their workplace to others.

The survey polled almost 10,000 full-time employees worldwide. People, age 19 to 68, were asked to rate their level of trust in their companies. Less than half (46 percent) stated that they placed “a great deal of trust” in their companies. 39 percent stated that they had “some trust,” while 15 percent had “very little or no trust at all.”

Those who answered “very little or no trust at all,” were then asked about the biggest complaint about their employer. The most cited reasons were: Unfair employee compensation, lack of equal opportunity for pay and promotion, lack of strong senior leadership, a high level of voluntary or involuntary employee turnover, and a non-collaborative work environment.

While the results of the study show a lack of trust in leadership, only 49 percent of those surveyed felt a “great deal of trust” for their co-workers.

The group placing the least amount of trust with their employers was Generation X (born between 1960 and 1980). Only 41 percent of Gen X-ers admitted to having “a great deal of trust” in their employer. The main reason cited for the lack of trust was unfair employee compensation (54 percent).

The women surveyed showed a more pronounced tendency to be influenced by a lack of trust. 44 percent of women, compared with 40 percent of men responded that they would look for other employment because of their employer trust issues. Pay (61 percent) and promotion opportunities (52 percent) were more important trust factors for women.

The results of another study showed that younger generations, especially those in Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015), were influenced by their parent’s workplace experiences. Again, workplace trust played a major part for respondents. For a majority of Gen Z’ers the workplace experiences of a parent or guardian had a significant positive impact on the amount of trust they expected to have for future employers.

The workplace issues cited as future reasons for a greater lack of trust for Gen Z’ers were: lack of pay raises, lack of trust or dislike of boss, job dissatisfaction, and dislike or lack of trust for company executives.

Insights to Understand, Attract and Hire Millennials

Millennials are an ever increasing part of the workforce. Therefore it is important to understand what they value, in order to attract and hire them.

LinkedIn asked over 13,000 Millennials a few questions, including:

  1. What draws them towards a job.
  2. What hinders their desire to apply for a job.
  3. What makes them accept a job offer.

Here are highlights of the results, some of which are expected, and some which are new.

  • 93% of Millennials are keen to learn about job opportunities that are available in the market.
  • When they hear of a job, they are more likely than other generations to find out additional information about your company through social media.
  • The first thing they seek to find about your company, is the culture and values. They also care more about the benefits and perks, as compared to older generations.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Millennials responding to the survey were less purpose-driven than other generations.
  • The main reasons they accept a job, are compensation/benefits, more opportunities and more challenges.
  • They top reasons they do not accept a job, are not know enough about the company and not understanding the role well enough.

understand and hire millennials better

4 Signs Employment Has Changed Forever & What You Can Do to Adapt

Virtual Offices

In February 2013 Marissa Mayer went against the current when she asked her Yahoo! employees to work from the offices instead of from remote locations or homes. As the world keenly watched to see if this would turn Yahoo!’s failing fortune around, Yahoo! employees’ productivity did not necessarily rocket in to space. At least we missed to see it. 

Distance is dying, It is time we embraced the virtual offices. Do it like these trendsetters. Forbes recently published the top 100 companies that offer remote jobs, it is mainly US companies, but you would be surprised to see that many industry leaders appear there.

Millennials and Gen Z in the workforce.

This topic has been done to death, but just a reminder here – Millennials are not all that different, they are just as smart and as productive as the other generations were when they were still young and restless. But they do demand the new. Traditional contracts, Outdated career progression programs wont help retain this talent. But of course, this is on the assumption that you are interested in retaining the millennial talent. Being one of the older millennials, I agree we  aren’t exactly cute puppies you shower with love.

According to this Fortune Article based on a highly regarded PWC report, the wishlist of this smart set of people is exactly the same as what Daniel Pink has been shouting from the rooftops as early as 2008. Flexibility. Growth (Mastery). Sense of Purpose. It is time to re-think our incentive models and stare longer at the top of Maslow’s pyramid – self actualization.

Flexi working. Flexi is the new black.

9-5 jobs make total sense for factories, but for the average non factory worker it is plain inconvenient. For one thing, why would employers pay people to sit/stand through rush hour traffic and come to office in grumpy moods. If the work environment is even remotely cognitive, you expect the employees to be at their productive, creative, analytical best. Not a single research report said people are at their best between 9am and 5pm. Employers can only gain by flexing the rigid office timings.

If you stop to think for a moment, it is highly likely that what is stopping companies from going flexi might just be their stone age HR policies that was adopted from a different context and expectations that were set as a result of following these policies for decades. Is it time to make a change, especially when EVERYTHING else has changed?

Volatile economy. Enough Said!

More Companies are putting end dates to employment contracts and who can blame them. Companies who hire on contracts are not bad people, they are just adapting themselves to the ever moody economy. Instead of paying out hefty redundancy packages or having the difficult conversations with their talents with no good reason to give why they are being let go, a contract with an end date is an easy way out.

The economy will continue its cycles of boom and break down. Companies and employees have to keep adapting to this massive phenomenon. Fixed end, short term, consultancy contracts are all here to stay, so it is a good idea to wake up and smell the coffee.

Which employers are the most sought after globally?

LinkedIn took a look at a huge amount of data and activity of its members, to see which companies are the most sought after in the world.

These companies offer employees two main things: Opportunity and Excitement. The top ranked companies enhance careers and have an energized/strong culture.

However, they may not be the best places to work at on a day-to-day basis, as evidenced by Amazon at 5th place, even though it is known to be a relentless and all-consuming place to work at.

Before we dive into the rankings, here are a few observations:

  1. The top companies in the ranking are made up of an unusually large number of tech firms.
  2. Founders are leading many of the top firms.
  3. Consumer facing and popular brands are sought after.
  4. There is no correlation between a firm’s size and its appeal to candidates.
  5. Many of the top companies provide very generous benefits to their employees.

best ranked companies in the world

You can take a look at the entire ranking of 40 companies, along with some commentary, here.