LinkedIn Workforce Report: Jobs requiring digital skills in demand

Today, LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, released its inaugural Workforce Report (Professional Edition) for India, providing insights into the dynamics driving the talent ecosystem in the Indian economy. By analyzing a vast set of anonymised and aggregated data on the platform, which includes 50 million members, 50,000 skills and 1 million companies in the country, the report highlights key trends such as jobs/skills that are most sought after and geographies where job opportunities are.

LinkedIn’s bi-annual report comprises a National section and a Regional section. The latter provides insights into localized trends in each of 14 of the largest Indian metro areas: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh, Gurugram, Jaipur, Kalyan, Kochi and Noida.

Key highlights of LinkedIn’s Workforce Report for India in H1 2018:

  • Industry growth - Education and Legal industries lead, Hardware & Networking lags

Using the net number of people movements into each industry (as observed from LinkedIn profiles) as a directional proxy, the report found that industry growth rates were lower on average compared to H1 2017.

In 7 of the 14 cities studied, Education led industry growth in H1 2018.  Industries that also grew faster this period, albeit marginally, include Construction, Software & IT Services, Finance, Manufacturing, Corporate Services, Transportation & Logistics, Recreation & Travel and Health Care.

On the other hand, the Retail, Consumer Goods, Real Estate and Entertainment industries trailed, in line with weakening in the private services’ growth as observed in Q1 GDP data.

  • Most sought after occupations - Software engineers in pole position, Application Developers just a step behind

Of the job postings made by companies, those looking for Software Engineers had the highest share in H1 2018, followed by Application Developers, Solutions Consultants, Java Software Engineers, Business Analysts. In particular, job posts for Software Engineer were highest in 8 of the 14 cities included in the study.

The demand for tech-related jobs is reflective of several forces at work, including the digital transformation across industries to employ cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase productivity.

  • Skills in-demand - Top skills required for top jobs

The top skills profiled for the top posted jobs in H1 2018 included a mix of core technical skills like coding and database querying as well as key soft skills like Management, Leadership and Team Management.

A consumer oriented economy, as shown by this report’s data on job postings and occupations driving the growth of industries, explains the high demand of Management and Business Development skills nationally.

  • Talent migration – Professionals in India continue to go places

Top draw destinations for professionals in India were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. In the other direction, migration from the United States, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom into India were also the highest.

In particular, the United States-India corridor witnessed the highest volume of talent migration in both directions in H1 2018. However, in-demand talent exchange was greatest between Australia and India.

As a result of cross-border migration of talent, India saw a net outflow of digital skills and a net inflow of skills related to the Oil & Gas industry.

Within India, migration into the commercial and national capitals were highest from satellite and neighboring cities. In H1 2018, some of the most in-demand migration corridors for tier-1 cities were with Kalyan, which emerged as the top city gaining talent in H1 2018, followed closely by Bengaluru. An in-demand migration corridor indicates the movement of professionals into the top-10 most posted jobs of the destination region.

Commenting on the launch of the report, Olivier Legrand, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, LinkedIn said, “India’s growing workforce is one of the country’s most valuable assets driving the economy. In this country where more than 10 million new graduates enter the workforce every year, and where the skills required to stay employable and relevant continue to evolve rapidly, the labour market will need to adapt to stay efficient. We hope LinkedIn’s insights will provide directional guidance for every player in the ecosystem, from graduating students and job seekers to employers and policymakers, as they navigate the demand and supply sides of the equation ahead of them.”

  • On relative industry growth and occupations driving that growth:

The Legal and Education industries led in H1 2018. Growth in these industries were driven by traditional roles such as Associates, Lawyers and Researchers for the former and Teachers and Research Assistants for the latter. However, the report shows indications of the digital transformation within both industries with the emergence of Software Engineers amongst the top-10 occupations hired for. This was followed by the Design and Construction industries, while the Retail, Consumer Goods, Real Estate and Entertainment industries trailed with slow annual pickup.

The report also identified the occupations driving industry growth, where digital roles emerged as the key propeller in H1 2018. Software Engineer appeared in the top-10 list across 17 industries including those such as Transportation & Logistics, Retail, Wellness & Fitness, Consumer Goods, Education, Recreation & Travel. This is supported by observations of a vibrant tech start-up scene in logistics, fintech and healthcare both nationally and more recently, in the 2018 LinkedIn Top Startups for India rankings[1]. Sales-related occupations were also seen to have widespread presence in the report, particularly significant in the Consumer Goods, Finance, Recreation & Travel and Real Estate industries.

On in-demand skills:

Across many industries in H1 2018, there was a large share of job postings for software engineers and developers attesting to trends of enhanced technology adoption and a general gearing of businesses and services towards enhanced competition, efficiency and productivity.

The top skills profiled for the top posted jobs in H1 2018 include a good mix of core technical skills like programming, coding and databasing, and soft skills like management, leadership and team management. Database querying skills are also seeping into roles such as Project Management and Solutions Consultant, suggesting a shift from traditional management skills into hands-on data extraction and analysis.

On migration of talent and skills flow:

India continued to supply talent to and get talent from around the world in H1 2018. Top draw destinations in terms of volumes were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. In the other direction, migration from the United States, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom into India was the highest.

In both directions, the Australia-India pathway showed the highest proportion of migration (in terms of value) into jobs with the high number of job postings. This lines up well with published reports that India is the largest source country under Australia’s managed skilled-migration programme.

Through migration, India was seen to gain and lose certain skills. On the losses side, India saw a negative net flow of skills related to Software Development, an area of comparative advantage for India and therefore, a natural export. On the gains side, the report recorded a net efflux of digital skills reflective of India’s position as a global provider of tech talent, while an influx of skills related to Oil and Gas also lines up well with observations of talent migration coming from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

On India’s most attractive employment hubs:

Kalyan emerged as the top city gaining talent in H1 2018 with Retail leading industry growth in the region. Bengaluru came in second, followed by Gurugram. Neighbor New Delhi ranked third in the list of top cities that lost talent in the same period. State capitals continued to offer an opportunity to India’s workforce, as Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai emerged as India’s top 3 employment centres in H1 2018. This was also evidenced by the number of net transitions into industries which was well dispersed for these regions. Corroborating a national trend, the Software Engineer was the most posted job in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai, although non-profit led industry growth.

On nurturing India’s talent ecosystem:

As the report answers to key trends – cyclical or lasting, studied across the country’s workforce, it also identified key actionable themes that could be of relevance for policy setting including:

Supply and job-readiness can be augmented for Software Engineer and Developer skill-demand through a combination of top-up trainings and apprenticeship programs at the firm-industry level

Apprenticeship programmes in companies and industries can be institutionalized, and existing infrastructure geared accordingly

Public Spending on education can be re-worked to support apprenticeship

India’s vibrant startup culture can be co-opted and galvanized for devising skilling solutions


The time period for the data analyzed is from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2018. Data comes primarily from member profiles at an aggregated level. Supplemental data sources include job postings on LinkedIn. Only members registered before 31/12/2017 were included.


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