Maggie BleharMarch 28, 2024
Topics: Talent Experience

The Sweet Sixteen of Skills

March Madness isn't just about buzzer-beaters and bracket-busters. Just like teams strategize to recruit the best players, businesses strategize to attract, retain, and develop top talent. At IAMPHENOM, the #1 Intelligent Talent Experience Conference coming to Philadelphia, we'll be sharing the playbook for winning in HR, including best practices that will have your organization slam-dunking into success.

John Deal, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Phenom, and Talent Experience Live host Devin Foster debated the roles that are hot right now, the skills that are not, and what organizations should be prioritizing for talent acquisition and workforce planning.

Read on for our predictions for emerging skills and roles in several industries, or get the full-court experience by viewing this special episode of TXL below.

Pregame Show: State of Skills Report

So, what’s the relationship between March Madness and skills? “Skills, at the end of the day, are a lot like college basketball. It’s all about defense. You have to prepare yourself for the future in order to win a championship,” Foster explained.

With insight into employee skills and skills gaps, companies can optimize employee development programs and gigs, create more successful career pathing opportunities, and strategically develop talent pipelines to ensure long-term success and competitiveness in the industry.

Phenom’s upcoming inaugural State of Skills: 2024 Report will help companies do just that. The report draws on data from Phenom’s skills ontology, a network of more than 400,000 skills, to provide insights on:

  • Emerging and declining skills across several industries

  • How skills can be leveraged throughout the talent lifecycle

  • The impact emerging skills will have on current job roles

  • How to apply skills data to talent acquisition and strategic workforce planning

The 2024 Skills Tournament Bracket

To further the March Madness metaphor, Deal and Foster narrowed the State of Skills: 2024 Report’s 200 skills that are either emerging or declining down to a “Sweet 16.” Let’s break some of them down.

Emerging and declining skills in HR.

Emerging Skills

This year’s bracket includes some top-seeded emerging skills in the HRIS arena, which is no surprise given the current explosion of computing and analytics. 6:19 “Protection from data privacy issues or anything along those lines is going to be important,” Foster said.

Let’s start with ethical AI principles. Skills in ethical AI principles are becoming essential as organizations realize they need to align with the evolving regulatory landscape governing AI usage. Particularly with laws like Europe’s GDPR, which impacts U.S. businesses with global customers, ethical usage of AI is a hot issue – and related skill sets are gaining traction.

Other emerging skills include:

  • Threat intelligence: Threat intelligence refers to the analysis and understanding of cyber threats, including potential attackers, methods, and vulnerabilities, to enhance cybersecurity defenses.

  • Telehealth: “The benefits of telehealth are just incredible,” Deal said. With its ability to eliminate geographic and other barriers between patients and health specialists, telehealth will only keep growing.

  • Compliance training: Compliance involves ensuring adherence to laws, regulations, standards, and policies relevant to an organization's operations, products, services, and interactions with stakeholders.

  • Digital transformation: Planning and executing strategies to leverage digital technologies for transforming business processes and operations.

  • Blockchain technology: Distributed ledger technology that enables secure, transparent, and tamper-proof recording and verification of transactions and data across multiple parties. “Blockchain as a technology is really starting to move into different industries, like healthcare, because of the way healthcare is distributed,” Deal noted.

  • Cold calling: Cold calling is a skill that can take you into any job today, whether it's 90% of your job, like an SDR, or 10% of your job, like a product marketer or a social director.

  • Natural language processing: Natural Language Processing (NLP) involves AI techniques that enable computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language. In finance and insurance, NLP is used for sentiment analysis, document processing, and chatbot interactions.

Declining Skills

On the flip side, there are declining skills that Deal doesn’t see laster much longer in their respective industries. These skills simply aren’t in demand due to industry changes.

Some of those declining skills to watch out for include:

  • Handwritten communications: With the fact that the data needs to be protected, handwritten communications like note taking and snail mail are simply falling to the wayside.

  • Manual data entry: Automation of data entry processes and the integration of electronic health record (EHR) systems have reduced the need for manual data entry skills in healthcare settings.

  • Microsoft SharePoint: This is declining in popularity for document management and collaboration due to the availability of alternative cloud-based solutions.

  • Manual packaging skills: Automated packaging systems and robotic solutions reduce the need for manual packaging skills.

  • Manual Laboratory Techniques: The automation of laboratory processes and advancements in robotics reduce the need for manual manipulation and testing.

  • Fax Machine Operation: The decreasing reliance on fax machines in favor of electronic communication methods has reduced the need for skills in operating fax machines in healthcare settings.

The Champion

Who says nice guys finish last? According to Deal and Foster, ethical AI principles takes the cake this year.

“It’s strong for sure,” said Deal. “It crosses industries; it’s really applicable to a number of different people’s jobs and roles and how it impacts them. As a skill, I think you’re going to see a strong performance.”

“A lot of people understand that if you leave AI behind, then you’re leaving your business behind,” Deal said. Skills in ethical AI principles help organizations move forward responsibly – by keeping AI usage explainable and fully transparent.

“This is a skill that needs to be ingrained in the culture of the organization whether you’re going to be developing AI or using AI – which is every organization,” Deal added.

Cut through the Madness with State of Skills 2024

Don’t know much about blockchain technology? Unsure what ethical AI principles entails? Confused about natural language processing? Don’t worry. The important thing is being aware of these and other emerging skills that you may need these skills soon to fill out your bench.

To learn more about skills and how you can optimize skills data at your own organization, get a complimentary skills snapshot!

Maggie Blehar

Maggie is a writer at Phenom, bringing you information on all things talent experience. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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