From education to employment

New Pearson study identifies human skills as the ‘power skills’ most in demand in UK job market

People with laptops sat around table

New research from Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, finds that despite new technologies transforming the world of work, the top five most in demand skills today are human skills, with the trend set to continue through at least 2026. 

Using an analysis of more than 21 million job ads, in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, Pearson’s Skills Outlook identifies today’s new ‘power skills’ – those capabilities now powering the world’s economy and individual careers. The analysis shows that while technical capabilities remain vitally important for many roles, employers highly prize human skills such as collaboration, communication and teamwork.  

Pearson’s Skills Outlook shows that UK job ads in 2022 were dominated by five human skills: 

  1. Communication  
  2. Organisation  
  3. Customer Service 
  4. Attention to Detail  
  5. Teamwork 

Looking ahead to 2026, Pearson’s modelling suggests that the top five power skills that will be most in-demand to meet UK economic need are also human skills: 

  1. Collaboration 
  2. Customer Focus 
  3. Personal Learning & Mastery 
  4. Achievement Focus 
  5. Cultural and Social Intelligence 

Mike Howells, President, Pearson Workforce Skills, said: 

“While technical skills are important for many jobs, people will need to retrain frequently to ensure they keep up with the pace of technology.  Employers are now realising that human skills are the power skills that really help people stay relevant and adaptable in a changing world. Businesses need to act now to help employees upskill and employees need to adopt a mindset that helps them learn across their lifetime, as a strong foundation of human skills is essential for success for employers and employees both now and in the future.” 

Although demand for technical skills is increasing, technology evolves so quickly that these capabilities often have a short shelf-life and can be unique to specific industries or jobs. People in tech roles need human skills to be agile and adaptable in their learning. The research findings provide guidance to employers on where they should focus their training and education programmes. 

In the first of a series of Skills Outlooks, looking at today’s Power Skills, Pearson used Faethm’s workforce AI and predictive analytics to look at census, workforce and recruitment data in four major economies – the US, UK, Australia and Canada – and model how job requirements are evolving as a result of technological change.  With nearly 1,400 enterprise clients, Pearson has a strong foundation and unique expertise in the workforce skilling market. 

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