The Skill American Companies Need Most Right Now – And How to Learn It

April 26, 2018

See the single biggest skill gap in America today – communication.

The biggest skill gap in America today isn’t cloud computing or data science or some other tip-of-the-spear technological skill.

No, what’s lacking most among the United States workplace today is the exact opposite of that. According to new LinkedIn data, the biggest unfulfilled need of American businesses right now are people who can communicate and connect with other people.

The data is overwhelming. Right now, companies are in need of 1.4 million more people who can communicate with others effectively – more than triple the next biggest need, software engineers.

Why?

A few reasons:

  • Projects across all industries are becoming increasingly more complicated and more international, leading to a spike in demand for project managers with strong communication skills.
  • Products across industries are getting increasingly more complex. Hence, there’s a need for people who can translate the value of those products to customers – causing a spike in demand for sales professionals with strong communication skills.
  • Even in the world of tech, it isn’t just enough to write great code. Collaborating with others and explaining the value of that code is also on the rise – leading to a spike in demand for software engineers with strong communication skills as well.

An added benefit? Unlike hard skills, communication is a robot-proof skill that’ll benefit you regardless of your role. So, not only is it the most valuable skill right now, it’s also the most timeless.

How do I learn this skill?

Communication is a broad term. What does it mean, exactly? And how can you as professional learn it?

Well, communication really comes down to these four factors – which we tied to LinkedIn Learning courses that teach each one:

  • Listening

Ironically enough, great communication starts with your ears. The best communicators are excellent listeners, who understand the point of view of others and react accordingly to it.

Recommended Course: Effective Listening

  • Being clear and concise

Once you understand someone else’s point of view, it’s time for you to make your point. This means being both clear and concise across all mediums – email, in-person, video conference, etc. –  so others can easily understand what you are saying.

Recommended Course: Communicating with Confidence

  • Emotional intelligence

Even if you do listen and are clear, people might still disagree. And some will disagree intensely.

Here’s where emotional intelligence kicks in. By not getting emotional at work and understanding others emotions, you don’t fall victim to these snake traps and maintain those strong relationships.

Recommended Course: Developing your Emotional Intelligence

  • Business Acumen

Last but certainly not least, great communicators understand what needs to be communicated. And that means understanding the needs of the business.

So, yes, you could be the best communicator in the world, but if what you are communicating doesn’t tie to business strategy, it’s useless. Instead, you need to think beyond your role and your own needs to push the business forward.

Recommended Course: Strategic Thinking

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