New Research with America Succeeds Reveals The High Demand for Durable Skills

Published on Apr 16, 2021

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Anne Peasley

New Research with America Succeeds Reveals The High Demand for Durable Skills

As a leading provider of labor market data for education, Emsi recently provided analysis of 82 million employer job postings for America Succeeds’s Durable Skills Initiative. Initial findings of the study are presented in a new report, The High Demand for Durable Skills. For more, read the full press release below.


Denver, CO. April 14, 2021 — Leveraging data from 82 million employer job postings, America Succeeds announced findings that reveal the critical importance of Durable Skills training for long-term success in the workforce. These “soft” skills were requested in over 50 million job ads—almost two thirds of those studied. A third of jobs (29 million) requested at least three Durable Skills, and of the 10 most in-demand skills across all postings, seven were Durable Skills. The top five Durable Skills were requested almost four times more than the top five other skills.

These are some of the unique data points presented in The High Demand for Durable Skills by America Succeeds, a non-profit organization committed to helping students succeed by harnessing the power and acumen of the business community. As defined in the new report, Durable Skills are the soft skills that comprise important professional capabilities (Leadership, Critical Thinking, Communication, etc.) and personal qualities (Creativity, Mindfulness, Fortitude, etc.) that last throughout an entire career.

“The need for inclusive, soft skills-based education and hiring was apparent long before the pandemic but COVID-19 has greatly accelerated existing trends,” said Tim Taylor, co-founder and president of America Succeeds. “We launched this unique research initiative to start a national conversation around Durable Skills, so that schools understand the importance of educating for them and corporate leaders recognize the urgent need to partner with the education system to solve their workforce challenges.”

Using Emsi’s database of tens of millions of employer job postings from the past two years, America Succeeds categorized 100 of the most in-demand Durable Skills into 10 major themes or competencies. Key findings include:

  • The top five Durable Skills are requested nearly four (3.8) times more than the top five hard skills.

  • Over 29 million postings (36 percent) requested at least three Durable Skills.

  • Leadership and Communication competencies are in highest demand, requested by 50+ percent of postings.

  • While the value of durable skills is high nationwide, geographic regions differ from one another and from national averages in their demand for specific competencies.

“Companies will continue to compete on innovation and talent like never before which makes the use, sharing, and transparency of skills data across stakeholder groups even more important to the world of work,” said Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Collective action around durable skills is one way to ensure Americans have the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and the economy has the skilled workforce it needs to grow.”

The High Demand for Durable Skills report represents the initial results of a long-term initiative to identify and elevate the need for Durable Skills training across the full spectrum of education-to-employment pathways. America Succeeds continues to expand its Durable Skills research and advocacy campaign, partnering with leading corporations that are seeking to foster greater student achievement, build an educated workforce pipeline, and protect the nation’s future economic vitality.

Additional supporters of the durable skills initiative include SHRM, CompTIA, The Manufacturing Institute, Business Agility Institute, Associated Builders and Contractors, and Americans for the Arts.

About America Succeeds

America Succeeds is a non-profit organization committed to improving educational opportunity, outcomes, and equity by harnessing the power and acumen of the business community in accelerating systems change. Our organization is uniquely positioned between business and the education policy sector—acting as an “education voice to business” nationally and a “business voice for education” at the state-level. Our work bridges these two distinct constituencies, with advocacy efforts aimed at larger culture change and policy efforts that ultimately help us achieve our vision of preparing every student to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their local community.

About Emsi

Emsi is a leader in advanced labor market analytics, including the development of skills data to better connect job seekers and employers. We provide our clients with the knowledge and tools needed to make strategic, data-driven decisions, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their action plans, that ultimately result in wealth creation for their citizens. For over 20 years, Emsi’s economists and data scientists have been taking traditional labor market and industry data and making it understandable and actionable for clients. Emsi Skills represents the next evolution of analyzing labor market information, now from a real-time perspective.