While researching job market shifts for a recent Thinkopolis labour report, we decided to take a closer look at which skills and abilities employers are most actively seeking out right now. Having that information could help you decide what to highlight in your job applications and perhaps also help people to choose the education and training they might need if they’re just entering the job market or seeking to make a change.

While there are no guarantees to employment, acquiring and demonstrating the most in-demand skills by employers can greatly increase your hireability. Even in a sluggish job market, there are roles that companies are struggling to recruit for – and critical skills that are urgently sought after.

Based on job postings on Workopolis, as well as employer searches in our resume database, and other job market research, here are some currently much sought-after competencies.

Essential employability skills for 2014

  • Analytical / Research Skills
  • A skilled trade: Carpentry / Electrical / Plumbing / Welding
  • Financial expertise
  • Instructing / Coaching / Training
  • Project management
  • Programming / Coding
  • Sales abilities
  • Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketing
  • Web design
  • Writing / Communications skills

Along with the urgent job-specific competencies, top level Canadian business leaders say that where candidates often don’t measure up is in their level of soft skills. Two-thirds of executives told us that rather than job-specific qualifications, it was the basic business and people skills they were having trouble finding.

Five transferable skills in demand with Canadian employers:

  • Positive attitude and work ethic
  • Customer care / relationship building
  • Communications skills
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Analytical abilities / problem solving

Based on further analysis of employers’ searches of the Workopolis resume database, we can see which positions are trending in demand right now. Canadian companies are actively recruiting for the following job titles:

In order to create a powerful and sustainable career path, it is becoming essential to have cross-disciplinary skills: communications + technical wizardry, skilled trades + business acumen, healthcare + management.

This kind of multi-faceted skillset is going to be the key to future success. The best paid and most secure jobs will go to people with solid analytic and interactive abilities, who are able to continually learn new skills in order to adapt along with the evolving needs of the market.

Oh, and as that Thinkopolis report research discovered, employers spend less than 11 seconds on their initial resume scan, so make sure the skills they’re looking for are easy to find.

See also: Eight skills that can double your chances of being hired


Peter Harris
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