Are your job skills futureproof? Here’s how to avoid becoming obsolete

By Aoife Barry

Things are changing swiftly in the modern workplace. For instance, 25 per cent of the skills required for jobs today are different from those required back in 2015, according to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report.

It isn’t a new phenomenon – there were concerns about adults having the right skills to match the right role for them in 2017. And in today’s world, the skills gap is a continued concern for employees and employers.

But which skills are actually most in demand right now? LinkedIn took a deeper look at what’s now deemed necessary globally, by scouring paid job postings as well as the standout skills of professionals hired in the past six months (or messaged by a recruiter on the site).

The findings show that “soft skills” are deemed most important in today’s workplaces. On the list of 10 skills companies need most, management and communication came up top, while leadership, customer service and teamwork also featured highly.

Looking at the findings sector by sector, we see that across business, finance/accounting, project and program management, and information technology, top of the list of in-demand skills is another soft skill: management.

Marketing is the one outlier on this front, with social media coming out on top of in-demand skills – itself requiring a keen understanding of human behaviour and desires – while management is second on the list.

Yet while the word “soft” is used, there’s nothing weak about these essential human skills – and they’re certainly transferable between sectors.

Is your role at risk?

With all this change, you might wonder if you’re in a role at risk.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a particular area of growth, and a recent report from Insider found that among the roles most at risk from AI are tech jobs: think coders, computer programmers, software engineers and data analysts.

Experts said that some AI tools, like ChatGPT, could fill gaps in tech jobs, or people might find AI “displacing” their work due to it being good at crunching numbers.

But while there can be a focus on generative AI having a “human” appearance, what it doesn’t have are the aforementioned soft, human skills that employers are seeking.

Looking at current job openings proves just that.

For example, Trade Republic is looking for a Senior Frontend Engineer in its Berlin office. To be considered, you’ll need three-plus years of experience in software engineering, and other hard skills. But crucially, the role would see you collaborate with others to build the platform that runs the company’s internal operations, as well as working with teams to help the company grow. Here, soft skills are key.

Away from AI, other pressure points could be having expertise in just one programming language, according to CIO’s look at dead-end IT skills. It advises that tech companies are seeking employees who have multiple programming languages under their belt.

British metaverse company Improbable is looking for a Principal Software Engineer (Backend Services) to work with its multiplayer group. One of the basic qualifications needed for this remote role is previous experience in one or more of these languages: Golang, Java, C#, Node.js, C++.

But Improbable also wants the ideal hire to be able to advise team members on technical and production matters, and be able to communicate with multiple stakeholders. So, amongst the hard skills, we see those key soft skills coming into play.

This role also looks for experience with cloud platforms, which is where we come to yet another skills challenge.

The CIO report noted that with cloud migration and automation helping to drive new technology trends, there’s huge room for upskilling here. IT professionals need to understand cloud software in a bigger way than before, given its growing importance to companies.

Safeguarding your future

Skills development is essential in futureproofing your career trajectory, and while pressure can’t just be on workers (companies play a role in upskilling employees), it doesn’t hurt to keep one step ahead.

The first move is to take a look at the skills you have, where the gaps are, and what skills are in demand. Diversifying your portfolio can also help you to futureproof: Think about how the skills you have could help you in radically different areas.

Ensuring you have soft skills is important during this time of change. Employers are clearly saying they need staff with interpersonal, communication and management skills that help across modern workplaces.

For example, Delivery Hero in Berlin is looking for a Senior Product Manager (Customer Identity) to join its team. While it is seeking four-plus years as a (technical) product manager, Delivery Hero is also looking for excellent communication and presentation skills.

The ideal hire is proactive, intellectually curious, and self driven – all qualities you won’t find in AI.

If you’re interested in exploring what other roles you could apply your existing skills to, visit


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