Key skills in demand in 2018

Woman showing colleagues the work she has done by upskilling herself, looking at a computer screen

Employers identified many skills in demand across the UK in the new research produced by Robert Walters, Jobsite and totaljobs - Solving the UK Skills Shortage 

Four in ten hiring managers said they see a shortage in general professional and soft business skills including efficiency, time-management, problem solving and communication skills, but 26% expect this shortage to decrease throughout 2018.

Almost 60% of jobseekers recognise these key broad professional skills are needed to succeed in their industry.

Download a copy of the full research

Industry specific skills

Despite the importance of broader business skills, industry specific skills are still important to growing teams and increasing revenue. There is clear competition for talent with often between 40-60% of businesses highlighting demand for a particular skill across most areas of work.

For many industries including accountancy and finance, banking and HR the skills most in demand in 2018 are a continuation of where the most prominent shortages have been felt in previous years.

Human resources/Banking & financial services

With the implementation of new GDPR regulations, both human resources (50%) and banking and financial services (59%) employers stated that compliance-based roles are currently most in demand.


Cyber security professionals have been most in demand within the technology sector for the past several years, with 36% of hiring managers saying it was a focus in 2017. Employers expect a shift though, with 41% saying business intelligence and data management professionals will be most in demand in 2018 due to advances in technology and the benefits of transparent and instantaneous dashboard reporting.

Accounting & finance

28% of senior professionals highlighted that there was a lack of financial and data analysis skills amongst candidates in 2017, and 38% said they anticipate these to be the most in demand skills in 2018.

Sector specific qualifications

There is an increase in demand for sector specific qualifications. 48% of those surveyed said a qualification relating specifically to professionals’ work is most important. There is clear competition for talent with often between 40-60% of businesses highlighting demand for a particular skill across most areas of work.

Only 21% believe a university degree is most important, and 16% believe experience is more critical than a specific qualification.

Key industries that value a sector specific qualification are:

  • Human Resources - 50%
  • Technology & digital - 44%
  • Accounting & finance - 65%


Robert Walters partnered with totaljobs and Jobsite to survey over 5,000 professionals across the UK to gain insight into key shortage trends, the potential impact of Brexit in a global market, changing candidate expectations, individual industry analysis and innovative recruitment strategies to combat skills gaps.

Find out more and download your copy of the full research.