Project management, business analysis and software development are the most in-demand tech skills for 2024, according to a new report.

Recruitment and workforce solutions firm Hays has released a report revealing the top 10 in-demand skills in Australia for this year.

Hays Asia-Pacific CEO Matthew Dickason said that while last year’s edition of the list saw nearly 90 per cent of employers experiencing skills shortage, the 2024 version has coincided with a rise in job vacancy activity around the country.

In Australia, there was a month-on-month increase in job vacancies of 1.7 per cent in January.

“We’re only eight weeks into the new calendar year, but it’s clear that certain skills are sought after more than others,” Dickason said.

“These roles are at the top of employers’ wish lists, with the ongoing skills shortage amplifying existing attraction and retention challenges for organisations.”

There are three tech-related skills in the top 10: IT project managers, business analysts and software developers.

IT project management was listed as the second most in-demand skill overall.

“As organisations continue to embed agility or new technology into their operations, project managers are sought to lead programs and guide a project’s output,” the report said.

Business analysts placed fourth in the list of in-demand skills.

“Given the pace of digital transformation, business analysts are sought to translate business requirements into technical solutions, identify areas for improvement and facilitate innovation,” it said.

“Candidates must possess exceptional analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Software developers have the eighth most in-demand skills in Australia, according to the study.

“Despite the rise of AI such as ChatGPT, software developers remain in high demand in both tech firms and across most industries,” the report said.

“As organisations increase their rate of digital adoption, streamline operations and look to stay competitive in a digital-first world, these professionals are sought to design, build and maintain software solutions.”

Early start

Dickason said Hays was being contacted by employers at the start of the year who were on the hunt for workers with these skills.

“This year, some employers contacted us in early January to get the jump on competitors and secure strong talent,” he said.

“The first quarter of the calendar year is traditionally a peak period for job searching, so savvy employers know they can make strategic hires to lay the foundation for a strong year ahead.”

Employees should look to these in-demand skills for guidance when looking to upskill, Dickason said.

“If you are in the early career stage, focus on building technical skills and expertise,” he said.

“As your career progresses, begin to advance your niche skills. Don’t forget your soft or people skill development, too.”

A CSIRO study last month found that Australian employers are increasingly looking for people skills, especially in those who are working remotely.

The study found that the COVID pandemic accelerated the already growing demand for workers who are good with other people, with skills such as communication and networking in high demand.

Another report this year found that employers are willing to pay significant salary premiums to job candidates that have a number of in-demand skills, including cyber security.

The study found that 35 per cent of surveyed business leaders were willing to pay employers above market salaries when they have the right skills, certifications, or experience.

The most in-demand skill according to that study is leadership or management expertise.

The top 10 in-demand skills in 2024:

  1. Accountants
  2. IT project managers
  3. Executive assistants
  4. Business analysts
  5. Business development managers
  6. Electricians and diesel mechanics
  7. Engineers
  8. Software developers
  9. Procurement specialists
  10. Communications specialists