The number of jobs in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technical fields has been growing over the last five years, but employers continue to report large gaps in soft skills like oral communication, leadership, and time management, a study published by professional networking site LinkedIn indicated.

The “Emerging Jobs Report,” released on December 13, 2018, was created by analyzing LinkedIn’s economic graph data between 2014 and 2018. The report provides information on the positions that have been growing most rapidly across the U.S., the skills associated with these jobs, and the roles that have emerged over the last five years.

According to the report, growth in fields and functions related to AI is likely to continue, as six out of the 15 emerging jobs in 2018 were related in some way to AI. Researchers also pointed out that skills related to AI are starting to infiltrate every industry, and are among the fastest-growing skills on the network. The analysis showed that globally, the demand for AI skills increased 190% from 2015 to 2017.

The study also found that the demand for basic business functions is surging, as basic operational functions like Administrative Assistant, Assurance Staff, and Sales Development Representative were identified as emerging jobs. The findings further indicated that nearly all of the fastest-growing roles in 2018 are jobs that have been growing steadily for years, including Software Engineer, Account Executive, and Recruiter.

In addition, researchers noted that the largest skills gaps are in interpersonal or soft skills, as on average, 26% of all skills reported in 2017 by the network’s U.S.-based members can be classified as interpersonal or soft skills, and soft skills like project management and leadership are among the fastest-growing “unique” skills demanded by employers. Researchers also pointed out that for positions like System Engineer, soft and interpersonal skills made up less than 1% of the skills demanded in 2015, but now account for 8% of the required skills.

The analysis showed that the jobs that grew the fastest in 2018 are Blockchain Developer (33x growth), Machine Learning Engineer (12x growth), Application Sales Executive (8x growth), Machine Learning Specialist (6x growth), and Professional Medical Representative (6x growth). The jobs that were found to have experienced large and sustained year-over-year growth during the study period are Software Engineer, Account Executive, Realtor, Account Manager, and Recruiter.

The skill groups identified as having the biggest shortfalls in 2018 are oral communication, people management, development tools, social media, business management, time management, leadership, graphic design, data science, and web development.

“There is no doubt that AI skills are on the rise, but some typically human skills that today cannot be replicated by machines have been growing almost as fast and are here to stay,” the report concluded.


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