Most in demand skills of 2015?

I remember in 2013 I wrote “What skills do I need for the future?”, about the most in-demand skills for all occupations, and in the future what employers will be looking for from today’s students. The top five skills employers were looking for in 2013 were:

  1. Oral and written communication skills
  2. Detail oriented
  3. Microsoft Office
  4. Customer service oriented
  5. Organisational skills

Do you see that? At number 3, IDC had identified Microsoft Office as the only software package that employers called out within the top 20 skills list!

Okay, but now we’re two years on, and we’re closer to the ‘future’ that IDC were predicting, what does the story look like?


The Freelancer Fast 50

Well, I just read some research from, which is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, with more than 17 million registered users who have posted 8.9 million projects and contests to date in over 850 areas as diverse as website development, logo design, marketing, copywriting, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing. publish a Fast 50 report, which is a right-here-right-now “pulse check of the movers and shakers across industries, technologies, products and companies” and is based on the projects posted in the last quarter. After analysing 356,876 jobs posted in the last quarter, they found that there continues to be a strong surge in demand for jobs related to Microsoft technologies, with a 63% jump in Windows desktop projects, 29% growth in Microsoft Word projects and 27% growth in Microsoft Excel projects.

Freelancer, in their press release, describe it as “A comeback for Microsoft”, but when you consider this over time, it really isn’t – we’ve got the same pattern of skills in demand in 2013, and now in 2015.

There’s a lot of conversations around at the moment about the link between education and employability (and especially in universities, a real focus on the data of employability of students). What this data shows is that Microsoft and our education customers are both moving in the same direction (and it also gives an extra stamp of approval to our decision to ensure that 5.5m students in Australia can get Office 365 ProPlus free)

Two different reports, two years apart, both making the same point. I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence.