2018 Skills Index: How Global Business Leaders Are Closing The Skills Gap

August 21, 2018 Leah Hoffmann

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How are business leaders closing the skills gap in hard-to-hire areas like innovation and pharmaceutical market access? Business Talent Group’s inaugural Skills Index report—which analyzes a year’s worth of project data from F1000 companies—suggests that many executives are turning to the dynamic marketplace of independent consultants and executives.

The Skills Index ranks the 20 most in-demand consulting skill sets across industries. It also examines the top three skills by industry and the fastest-growing year-over-year.

What emerges from this data is a vivid picture of cutting-edge specialties, from market analysis to supply chain strategy. With a global shortfall of 35 to 40 million high-skill workers projected by 2020, it’s no surprise that companies are engaging them for projects; after all, only 7% of senior managers agree they have enough talent within their organizations to go after their promising opportunities.

And with such high demand, it’s no surprise that the talent who possess these skills want to work on the independent marketplace, where they command a premium and have more control over their clients and projects.

Download the full report »


These are the top 10 most in-demand consulting skills across F1000 companies:

  1. Project Management
  2. Market Analysis
  3. Growth Strategy
  4. Strategic Planning
  5. Corporate & Business Unity Strategy
  6. Program Management Office (PMO) Support
  7. Product Development & Product Launch
  8. Supply Chain
  9. Customer Experience & Insights
  10. Innovation Strategy


We also took a look at which of these skills experienced the biggest growth in demand, year over year.

  1. Market Access & Value

    With competitive pressures intensifying, regulatory structures becoming more complex, and a growing scarcity of in-demand talent, it’s no surprise that pharmaceutical and biotech companies are increasingly tapping independent consultants for the market access and value skills they need throughout the product development and launch cycle.

  2. Supply Chain

    Today’s consumers expect to be able to purchase anything at any time, from any device or location, and at the lowest price possible—increasing pressure on companies’ supply chains across industries. In response, leading companies are now turning to independent consultants for the cutting-edge skills they need to create consumer-driven, digitally connected, end-to-end supply chain processes that eliminate inefficiencies and better align with customer demand.

  3. Portfolio Strategy

    When companies need to make hard choices about where to focus their resources and efforts, getting an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable to determine the most fruitful projects, programs, and products—free of personal investments and sunk-cost fallacies. Skilled independent consultants are an ideal solution for companies seeking to strategically prioritize initiatives and acquisitions.

  4. Post-Merger Integration

    It’s no secret that stakes are high when it comes to mergers and acquisitions—that’s why top companies are choosing independent consultants with on-the-ground executive experience and deep technical expertise to drive critical integration efforts.

  5. Organizational Transformation

    Major companies must be prepared to make necessary transformations to stay on top or regain lost ground, but redeploying internal resources can be disruptive to daily work and revenue generation. Independent consultants allow stakeholders to execute significant transformations while conserving resources and maintaining control over their most important projects.

Download the full report »


About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for Forbes.com and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

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