21 skills you need to get ahead in 2017

Reach your goals faster by learning top skills.

Data analysis skills, financial skills, business and strategic thinking skills, as well as tech skills render you highly employable and simultaneously eligible for a higher salary.

There are 21 skills that are more sought after by employers than others. This is mostly due to the tech explosion and the subsequent levels of data such an explosion has caused. In other words, where we were only able to track people’s behavioural patterns in bulk based on the demand and supply of items in a physical shop, individuals can now be targeted based on their web surfing patterns: entering a search query into Google and clicking on links produces personal data that otherwise would never have been accessible.

That is why most skills on this list are related to tech and data, while some are based upon general managerial and forward planning skills.

To identify the abilities that bring the greatest rewards, MONEY and PayScale analysed 54 million employee profiles from 350 different industries and more than 15 000 job titles ranging from entry-level positions to top management and executives. Comparisons were drawn between employees with the same title, age, location, and experience, focussing specifically on certain skills and their effect on career opportunities, career advancements and high salaries.

The top 21 skills all companies across industries are looking for include:

1. Statistical Analysis System (SAS)

Employers are willing to pay you handsomely if you possess knowledge of this data analysis software.

2. Data Mining/Warehousing

Combing through large amounts of data and picking out patterns from them to optimise profits is another expensive skill.

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3. Search Engine Marketing

The ability to reach customers digitally through search adverts is one of the most important skills businesses need to employ.

4. Data Modeling

Database design skills are another valuable skill that companies are willing to pay for substantially.

5. Contract Negotiation

Business, Finance, and Management roles are filled with contract negotiation opportunities which speak directly to the bottom line.

6. Software Development

Mastering digital tools is a needed skill across industries and are therefore very valuable.

7. Strategic Project Management

The balance between high-level thinking partnered with good attention to detail makes possessors of this skill highly sought after.

8. Strategic Planning

Regarded as a trifecta, strategic planners attract higher pay, access to a range of industries, and a short cut up the corporate ladder.

9. Technical Sales

If salespeople can master technologically complex products and services, they're in for a fatter paycheck.

10. Customer Service Metrics

Your skills as an excellent tracker of customer experience, satisfaction and predictor of future customer behaviour, makes you an asset to any team.

11. Financial analysis

Costs, revenue and profitability: possessing the skills needed to manage these makes you a highly desirable candidate.

12. Risk Management/Control

With regards to operational threats, being able to assess and minimise them is an alluring skill to have.

13. SAP Material Management

Knowledge of this inventory, purchasing and other elements of the supply chain means you can negotiate a higher salary before accepting a job offer.

14. Business Analysis

Identifying business needs and solutions allow you to work in many industries with a great salary to match.

15. IT Security and Infrastructure

Curbing the devastation of hackers and spammers from infiltrating sensitive information makes this skillset in demand.

16. Lean Manufacturing

Reducing waste has become an ever-important aspect of big corporations.

17. Forecasting

In order to effectively generate business outlooks, this skill requires you to be able to pair management insights with historical data.

18. Clinical Education

The ability to teach patient procedures is useful in education, medical and various social science industries.

Also Read: The 411 on online education and your career growth

19. Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing

This is another skill that allows you to apply and work within several industries anywhere in the world.

20. Systems troubleshooting

Methodically diagnosing and repairing operational failures makes this fundamental problem solving related skill attractive.

21. New Business Development

Companies are willing to offer increases to workers who are able to use their skills to generate new revenue streams and bring aboard new partners.

Unsurprisingly, data analysis skills, financial skills, business and strategic thinking skills, as well as tech skills render you highly employable and simultaneously eligible for a higher salary.

If you're eager to climb the corporate ladder faster and get the salary to boot, upskill with these online short courses available through Careers24.