Using its vast trove of user data, LinkedIn compared the US talent landscape in 2012 and 2017 to see what roles had grown the most in demand in that time. At the top of the professional networking site’s list of the top 20 fastest-growing jobs is “machine learning engineer,” the ranks of which have expanded nearly tenfold in the past five years, followed by “data scientist,” “sales development representative,” “customer success manager,” “big data developer,” and “full stack engineer.”
The proliferation of digital roles such as data scientist is unsurprising, given that these jobs are no longer limited to “tech companies” but are now needed in all sorts of organizations. However, Maria Ignatova notes at LinkedIn’s Talent Blog, there are two other key takeaways from the list that employers can learn from:
Hiring for outstanding soft skills is a high priority: Many of the roles on the list are customer-facing and underscore the importance of being able to screen candidates for soft skills. Traditionally, that has been one of the most challenging parts of the hiring process, with standard interviews just not cutting it. Many companies now are starting to use soft skills assessments or job auditions to see candidates in a more authentic light.
Some roles are so new, that the current talent pool is minimal: A few of the jobs on this list didn’t even exist five years ago, or if they did, they were niche with very few professionals in these roles. This means that you have to get creative when it comes to sourcing talent and be willing to approach people from different fields and consider non-standard skillsets. Reskilling the workforce due to shortage of talent is one of the top trends that will impact you if you are hiring for these roles.
LinkedIn’s findings also point to something we’ve found in our research at CEB, now Gartner: The convergence of demand around a smaller number of critical roles. Among S&P 100 companies, we found, 39 percent of job postings last year were for just 29 roles.
Many of these are roles that require digital and analytic skills, and some of them were very uncommon or nonexistent just a few years ago. CEB Recruiting Leadership Council members can learn more in our Executive Guidance on Competing for Talent in the Digital Age.
We also see some of these same developments in our regular analysis of US labor market trends. Our 2017 State of the Labor Market report for the United States, which Recruiting Leadership Council members can access here, found that the US market is hyper-competitive for talent with technical skills like DevOps, cybersecurity, and Amazon Web Services development. To reach these talent pools, organizations will also need to differentiate their messages and offers to make them stand out from talent competitors, who might not be in the same industry, but are targeting the same skills.
Not all of the in-demand roles we found were as “flashy” and technical as those, however. In fact, comparing data from 2016 to 2017, one of the fastest-growing jobs we identified was tractor-trailer driver, postings for which increased over 80 percent from 2016 to 2017. The US is actually facing a truck driver shortage, but this disruption in the labor market is also due to changes in technology—specifically, the rapid of online shopping and the competition among e-commerce retailers to deliver goods faster and to more far-flung locations. While these dynamics might change with future technology as well (in the case of trucking, the advent of self-driving cars will likely affect the talent market considerably), it’s worth remembering that the labor market impact of emerging technologies isn’t limited to the people who develop and use those technologies.