Survey Data: Examples of Technology Skills Employers Are Looking For

The technologies employees across industries use are evolving and changing at a rapid pace. As a result, professionals need to constantly adopt new skills to maximize productivity and achieve their business goals.

Rather than hiring new employees, you may consider taking a team- or company-wide approach to upskilling and reskilling the workforce as a manager or organizational leader. This can help you equip your staff with the competencies needed for success while also increasing employee retention and engagement.

The need for certain tech-focused skills has increased in recent years. This is especially true amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Emeritus 2021 Global Career Impact Survey, we assessed the effects of professional learning on the careers of 2,200 professionals worldwide who completed our online courses. Among other findings, we found that many respondents highly value tech-focused skills in today’s workforce due to an increased use of innovation, advancements in digital transformation, and greater use of technology.

Technology Skills Examples in the Workplace

Below are examples of technology skills that professionals identified in the survey as top upskilling needs for their teams or organizations.

Take a look at this tech skills list and consider your upskilling needs for your staff. Then, learn more about how you can work with Emeritus to develop online programs across disciplines for your team, company, or industry and address skills gaps.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

AI refers to the creation of computer systems that can complete tasks normally performed by humans to increase productivity and improve outcomes. In the Emeritus survey, nearly two-fifths (39%) of respondents identified AI as the most essential upskilling need for their team or organization. According to Forbes, AI will become increasingly present in the workplace even among those who don’t work in tech. It will weave its way into everything from recruiting and onboarding to workplace surveillance, and even employee training itself.

Hand in hand with AI is machine learning. IBM defines this term as a branch of AI and computer science focusing on leveraging data and algorithms to mimic how humans learn, “gradually improving its accuracy.” In the Impact Survey, 32% of respondents classified machine learning as a top tech skill in demand.

2. Analytics

Professionals identified business analytics (33%), data analytics (32%), marketing analytics (27%), and people analytics (13%) as upskilling needs for their teams or companies in our survey. Analytics refers to the process of identifying, analyzing, and communicating patterns in data.

business analytics graphs

In today’s world, data and analytics play essential roles in much of what we do because we constantly turn to digital technology in our personal and professional lives. Many online activities and tasks leave behind a trail of data. So, it makes sense that analytics are important in today’s workplace.

3. Automation

As technology evolves, machines have become able to complete certain tasks that traditionally had been done by humans. Automation is the completion of processes with minimal human intervention. With tech affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, it’s not surprising that a quarter of survey respondents identified automation as an upskilling need.

4. Data Science

While analytics and data science often complement each other, there are differences between the fields. According to the Harvard Business School blog, data analytics focuses more on how to use datasets and insights to take action, while data science centers more around building and organizing datasets.

Data scientists take data and make it easier to understand. The HBS blog says data science requires deep critical thinking. And, in our survey, 20% of respondents said data science was among the top upskilling needs for their staff.

5. Digital Marketing

Also high on the list of technology skills examples: digital marketing. This involves the use of digital technologies—think computers, mobile devices, tablets, and others—to promote specific products and services and enhance a brand’s presence. This can be done across multiple channels, including websites, emails, social media, search engines, and so on. One-fifth of survey respondents indicated that greater employee knowledge of digital marketing would help their business.

6. Project Management

While not exclusively limited to tech fields, project management is a skill in demand among employers because it allows teams to stay organized and aligned on a project from start to finish. In today’s workforce, project management is especially essential for the completion of products and services in engineering and software development careers. In our survey, 15% of respondents identified project management as an upskilling need.

Diagram showing the project management cycle

7. Blockchain

What is blockchain? As noted by Forbes, it’s a database technology that’s essential in nearly every cryptocurrency. Blockchain stores data and can record information about transactions in ways that make it difficult to alter or hack the system. Information is duplicated and distributed across a wide network of computer systems.

If you recognize a need for blockchain in your organization, you’re in good company. Twelve percent of respondents identified it in our survey as an important upskilling need.

8. UX/UI

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design focus on the user of a product (think a website or app) and aim to ensure the experience is optimized and simple. Nearly every business today has a website or app of some kind, so UX and UI might be essential to your organization. As explained on UX Planet, UI designers focus on how a user interface looks, while UX designers are more involved with how it operates. In our survey, 11% of respondents classified UX/UI as a top upskilling need.

Less than 10% of survey respondents identified the following examples of technology skills as upskilling needs for their teams or organizations. But they may still be of high importance depending on your industry and business goals:

  • Cybersecurity (9%)
  • Coding (8%)
  • Fintech (6%)
  • Software Development (4%)
  • AR/XR/VR (3%)


Looking to upskill or reskill your staff and close employee technology skills gaps? Work with us to develop top university content tailored for your industry, company, and team.

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