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Tackling the skills gap: Identifying in-demand and emerging technology skills

January 12, 2023
By: Casey Nemecek

A recent State of Skills report by the Burning Glass Institute, the Business-Higher Education Forum, and Wiley identifies four emerging technical skill sets as the fastest growing in the country: artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), cloud computing, product management, and social media. The authors use these four skill sets to illustrate how businesses, education providers, and learners can best prepare for a changing and increasingly technology-driven labor market. 

The report describes how the demand for new skills, despite historic trends, is no longer isolated to the tech sector or new occupations and is an opportunity to draw in talent from a larger pool of candidates. Given the current challenges with meeting employers’ technical talent needs, the authors emphasize the importance of developing talent pipeline strategies that include training for new skills and prioritize continuous learning and skill transition opportunities.

Through a recent partnership with Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass) and the National Center for O*NET Development (an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor), O*NET has updated its approach to identifying and classifying current technology skills trends. Outlined in a recent paper, O*NET announced a new designation to classify technology skills as “In Demand,” which applies to software and technology requirements frequently included in job postings for specific occupations. This designation complements the existing “Hot Technologies” label, which includes the most referenced software and technology requirements across all job postings. By differentiating between “Hot” and “In Demand” technologies, O*NET aims to provide greater clarity to job seekers and training providers to “help match the workforce with the needs of employers.”

In its first release since the update, O*NET has identified over 2,500 “In Demand” technologies for 478 occupations. The top technology categories across industry sectors (excluding categories attributing Microsoft Office as its primary software example) include: 

  • Data base user interface and query software (ex. SQL)
  • Development environment software (ex. Microsoft Azure)
  • Object or component-oriented development software (ex. Python)
  • Web platform development software (ex. JavaScript)

O*NET plans to re-evaluate and update its list of “Hot” and “In Demand” technologies biannually. Over time, this could provide more accessible insight into which technologies are gaining popularity overall and for specific occupations.

Readers can access O*NET’s complete database of technology skills on the O*NET Resource Center

Software and technology previously associated with highly technical occupations are becoming increasingly common and demanded in non-technical workspaces. While it is impossible to predict future workforce trends with perfect accuracy, organizations building STEM talent can use technology trend information through O*NET to inform and strengthen their workforce readiness programs and messaging strategies.

workforce, stem, skills