five skill sets that pay today.

  • career advice
  • September 25, 2018

With the overall U.S. unemployment rate nudging just south of four percent, there's no shortage of opportunities out there. But for qualified candidates who really want to take their careers to the next level — and see their pay rise accordingly — what skill sets are most valuable in today's market? Read on to find out.

the human touch

Do you thrive on personal interaction, carefully listening to others and using your troubleshooting skills to reach a resolution? If so, it sounds like you're blessed with an excellent human touch. You might also have what it takes to be a fantastic customer service representative, to boot.

What are the requirements? Excellent verbal and written communication skills, for starters. In this role, you'll spend your days speaking directly with customers. Not everyone who calls in will be in the best of moods, of course, so you'll need to think on your feet, listen patiently and act quickly in order to preserve the relationship and steer the interaction toward a positive outcome.

the money manager

Do you thrill to balancing budgets? Is Monopoly your favorite board game? Do you habitually retrieve pennies from public fountains? If at least the first of these is true, good news: The existing pool of talent for many finance-oriented roles — from accounting clerks to accountants, financial analysts and more — is ridiculously shallow, with unemployment for these specialties hovering around two percent.

If you're highly organized with strong accounting and general ledger skills, plus some technical know-how, it's high time to search for openings in your area.

the front-to-back expert

Think you have what it takes to succeed as a full-stack developer? They're the tech pros who help manage companies' front- and back-end technologies, tools and systems. And, as the name implies, you'll need to know both sides of the latest and greatest technologies, front and back. That means you'll need to be skilled in languages like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS, as well as frameworks like Foundation, Angular JS, Ember JS, Backbone and Bootstrap. Proficiency working in .Net, Python, Java, Ruby, PHP and database programs like MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, SQL server and others is also a plus.

If you're ready to launch your job search as a full-stack developer, bear in mind that a large number of openings in this field are located in major metropolitan hubs like New York and Los Angeles. So willingness to relocate may be an important factor in your job search.

the HR/business hybrid

Got a background in HR, but a mind for business? Lucky for you, the demand for professionals who possess your hybrid skill set is skyrocketing. That's because the HR function is rapidly transforming: While robots won't take over HR, there are a raft of new technologies on the market today that can automate and enhance HR processes to better support business outcomes. As the strategic focus of the HR department shifts toward performance management, productivity (plus, how it is measured) and adopting new tools to support teamwork, it should come as no surprise that companies are so hungry to find business-minded HR leaders who can help them with these focus areas — and deliver on bottom-line goals.

Hitting the HR job boards, but not seeing anything that seems like exactly the right fit? Instead, try searching for titles like "HR Generalist" or "HR Business Partner" — roles where business and HR responsibilities typically blend.

the threat detector

Want to land a job in a field that's not only fast-growing but also has a significant skills gap? That sounds pretty ideal — and it's the cozy reality for security engineers today. Around the world, in fact, the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals is estimated to number two million by 2019. Plus, 64 percent of all incidents involving stolen data records have occurred in the U.S. So, if you have the right background, you're in a great place with a ton of opportunity, and it's not about to go away.

What does it take to succeed in this role? While about 95 percent of job listings in security engineering require a bachelor’s degree, the talent shortage means that non-college grads can get a foothold in the field, too, mainly through security training courses online.

At the same time, it's not just technical savvy that makes for great security engineers. You'll also need to be able to work collaboratively in teams, and possess core organizational, analytical and communication skills. After all, IT pros at most organizations these days are asked to work cross-functionally with various stakeholders, so fluency conversing with folks who don't necessarily share your technical background is a must. If you're ready to land your next opportunity as a security engineer, check out some of the openings available right now.

let us power your next career move

Whatever field you specialize in — from finance and accounting to office and administrative work, tech or HR — the market for talent across all industries is fiercely competitive right now. And why not strike while the iron's hot? Click here to see all of the exciting openings Randstad has available in your field today.