At the beginning of the new year, many professionals would be contemplating about a job change. Or even a new career. But what skills are employers looking for?
Professional networking website LinkedIn collated the hottest skills that helped people land better jobs in 2015. Sohan Murthy, data analytics and strategy researcher at LinkedIn, in a blog post said, "We noticed that companies were still recruiting and hiring for these skills well into the final months of 2015, so we expect these skills will remain in-demand in the early part of 2016."
"This means if you have one or more of these skills, you're likely to continue getting interest from recruiters in the new year."
LinkedIn came out with a list of 'Hottest Skills of 2015' based on hiring and recruiting activity seen on the networking website in the past year (January 1 to December 1, 2015). As expected, IT skills dominated the list.
Mr Murthy said that in many ways, 2015 could be seen as the year cloud and distributed computing graduated from a niche skillset to a more prominent skillset in the global workforce. It was a very hot category in a few countries last year, according to LinkedIn.
Skills related to statistical analysis and data mining featured at number 2 in the list. According to LinkedIn, it was the only skill category that consistently ranked in the top 4 across all of the countries analysed. "We still live in an increasingly data-driven world, and businesses are still aggressively hiring experts in data storage, retrieval and analysis," Mr Murthy said.
However, demand for some skills cooled off. According to LinkedIn, "Game development dropped from 24th to 29th, digital and online marketing dropped from 16th to 32nd, SAP ERP systems dropped from 21st to 34th, computer graphics and animation dropped from 17th to 37th, and integrated circuit design dropped from 22nd to 41st." Employers are still looking for these skills - just not as much as last year, said Mr Murthy.
Hottest skills of 2015 (global) - according to LinkedIn
- Cloud and Distributed Computing
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- Marketing Campaign Management
- SEO/SEM Marketing
- Middleware and Integration Software
- Mobile Development
- Network and Information Security
- Storage Systems and Management
- Web Architecture and Development Frameworks
- User interface design
- Data engineering and warehousing
- Algorithm Design
- Perl/Python Ruby
- Shell Scripting Languages
- Mac, Linux and Unix Systems
- Channel Marketing
- Business Intelligence
- Java Development
- Electronic and Electrical Engineering
- Database management and software
- Software modeling and process design
- Software QA and user testing
- Corporate law and governance
IT sector hiring is expected to see a significant uptrend this year as more and more companies focus on digitisation and the sector is likely to create 2.5 lakh new job openings this year, according to a report by staffing services firm Teamlease Services.
Growing entrepreneur activity coupled with a shift in business focus from a service provider to a solution provider is expected to push hiring in the to new heights, Teamlease Services said.
Last year, hiring in the IT space saw a rise of 12 per cent, and this year, the sector is expected to witness growth of 14-16 per cent in recruitment.
"With companies focusing on technology and digitisation, the hiring focus has shifted from scale to skill. More and more companies are realizing that while they require traditional skills, it is the acquisition of niche skills that will be the game changer," TeamLease Services assistant general manager Alka Dhingra said.
Though companies will continue to hire traditional skills, the profiles that will be sought after include digital marketing, which requires the candidate to devise strategies that will drive online traffic to the company website and its conversations. The digital marketing profile is expected to see more than 70,000 job openings.
Other in-demand profiles in the IT sector include user experience and user interface designers; full-stack web developers, product developers; mobile product development engineers; business analysts; information security analysts; cloud architects/integration; data scientists, and content management system (CMS), the report said.
The job outlook for this sector is bullish going forward as new job opportunities in this space are expected to increase to 22 per cent by 2020, the report noted.
Indian employers have a bullish recruitment outlook for the coming months as they plan to hire more workers and increase salary levels, a survey says. According to CareerBuilder India's Midyear Job Forecast Study, 73 per cent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent staff over coming months while 60 per cent plan to hire temporary or contract workers.
"Despite slower-than-average job growth in the first half of 2015, many Indian employers are looking to increase hires, both of permanent and contract workers, at a formidable rate," CareerBuilder India Managing Director Premlesh Machama said.
This bullishness is being reflected in the job market as well, with just 46 per cent of workers planning to change their jobs in the next 12 months.
According to Nasscom, demand for niche technology skills and domain-specific capabilities would force IT companies to focus on lateral hiring. Domain specialists make up for 11-12 per cent of the Indian IT sector's direct manpower of 3.1 million, Nasscom says.
Regarding salaries, the report said that 86 per cent of employers plan to increase salary levels for current employees in the second half of the year.
Moreover, 68 per cent would increase salary levels by 5 per cent or more, while 79 per cent plan to increase starting salaries on job offers over the next six months. Around 57 per cent would raise starting salaries by five per cent or more.
The top functional areas where employers will increase hiring in the second half of 2015 include customer service, sales, marketing, information technology, production, accounting/finance and human resources.
The survey also revealed some of the in-demand areas employers will be recruiting for in the coming months across the globe.
These include social media, wellness, mobile technology, cloud technology, cyber security, content strategy for the web, environment, managing and interpreting big data and financial regulation.
The surveys were conducted online by Redshift Research on behalf of CareerBuilder India and covered 428 hiring managers and over 1,000 full and part-time Indian workers across different industries and company sizes.
On a day when Microsoft reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss and Apple disappointed analysts with its sales forecast, the attention of many IT employees and recruiters in India was firmly focused on Accenture.
Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme on Tuesday told The Washington Post that his company has disbanded the existing system of one-time annual performance review. The global IT consulting and outsourcing firm will unveil a more dynamic process to reward employees when annual appraisals get underway in September.
According to Mr Nanterme, Accenture employees will now receive timely feedback following assignments throughout the year.
Analysts say HR managers at domestic giants such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys - that are in direct competition with Accenture - would be closely monitoring these developments.
Accenture is not a pioneer in embracing an alternative model of employee appraisal; global biggies such as Microsoft and Adobe had earlier junked employee rankings.
However, Accenture's move assumes significance because of the impact it is likely to have on a large number of IT employees in India. Nearly 1.5 lakh of Accenture's 3.3 lakh employees are based in the country, making it perhaps the biggest private sector employer in the country after TCS and Infosys.
"Accenture has set a trend by junking the bell curve led performance management. It is a huge development from India's perspective. If the move helps Accenture boost employee morale, more companies may be interested," said the HR manager of a leading Bangalore-based IT firm who did not want to be quoted.
Like many global firms, Indian companies pit employees against one another to reward performance; the model that ranks employees on the bell curve - plotting employees in categories of outperformers, average performers and underperformers - was first used in the 1980s.
But a growing tribe of companies are embracing alternate models of measuring employee performance to reduce disenchantment and involuntary attrition.
Accenture's model, if successful, could help Indian IT and BPO companies contain attrition, which tends to spike in the June quarter, when annual increments are announced, analysts say.
TCS, which employs nearly as many employees as Accenture, saw its attrition rate spiking above 15 per cent in the three months to June. Infosys, which reported its first quarter results on Tuesday, also reported a sequential rise in its annualized standalone attrition at 14.2 per cent.
Analysts attributed the rise in attrition in these companies to "seasonality" that among other factors includes disappointment with appraisals.
Accenture's announcement turned out to be a hit among its employees; the company's global managing director Sanjeev Vohra described it as a "good move" on Twitter. Sandeep Sharma, digital marketing specialist at Accenture, said every Indian IT company should follow the move.