Bad news, graduates: LinkedIn says the most in-demand skills of 2024 can’t be learned in a textbook



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The skills-based revolution isn’t the future, it’s already here: It’s been over a year since major employers like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Apple, eliminated their long-held degree requirements for jobs to remove barriers to entry and recruit more diverse talent—much to the dismay of those who have splashed out thousands on a college degree.

Now, LinkedIn has put the final nail in the coffin for those hoping that a stellar education alone is enough to land you a killer job. 

That’s because the top skill of 2024 isn’t one you can learn from textbooks—or even a YouTube tutorial, for that matter.

According to the networking platform’s analysis of its 1 billion global users, the hottest skill to have right now is adaptability.

Its surging popularity comes as leaders scramble to understand what the rising popularity of artificial intelligence means for their businesses.

“As organizations come to grasp the full extent of what AI can do, they’re also coming to terms with all that it can’t do—those tasks that require the uniquely human skills that all businesses need,” warns Dan Brodnitz, global head of content strategy at LinkedIn Learning

It’s why being adaptable during these uncertain times is “indispensable,” Brodnitz says, adding that it will only “become even more important as the pace of change increases.”

LinkedIn reveals the most in-demand skills for 2024

LinkedIn also looked at those who have been recently hired among its enormous user base, as well as the skills listed in job ads to predict what the most-in-demand skills will be for the year ahead—and it provides more bad news for those who have just burdened themselves with huge debt for a degree.

Soft skills (non-technical skills) are equally as important to hiring managers as hard skills, according to the data.

What’s more, the pendulum is only going to swing further in favor of soft skills, according to the research.

9 out of 10 global executives that LinkedIn surveyed think that “human” skills are more important than ever, as we move into a new world of work thanks to AI, remote work et al.

So, it’s not surprising that communication (a soft skill) ranks No. 1 on the 2024 list of overall most in-demand skills. 

“In an era of hybrid work, employees communicate across an ever-expanding range of channels and platforms,” Brodnitz explains.

“Since in-person collaboration is no longer the default, effective communication from company and team leadership across channels helps connect, motivate, and inspire your teams.” 

Other soft skills to make the list include teamwork, problem-solving and leadership—which shouldn’t be snubbed by those at the start of their career.

Unlike management, which is about delivering measurable results, leadership is more about influencing change and motivating others.

“Regardless of your position in the org chart, leadership skills continue to be business-critical,” Brodnitz insists.

Meanwhile, the hard skills that continue to capture employers’ attention include customer service, project management and analytics.

Top 10 skills for 2024

1. Communication
2. Customer service 
3. Leadership 
4. Project management 
5. Management 
6. Analytics
7. Teamwork
8. Sales 
9. Problem solving
10. Research

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