The Top 10 Skills In Demand at the Top 10 US Companies in 2020

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Fortune recently released its 66th annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks the top 500 U.S. companies based on revenue. Considering these companies employ over 28 million people worldwide, we wanted to know the top 10 skills they are looking for in those employees. Are there any noteworthy similarities or differences between companies? How do the top 10 skills at these companies compare to the top 10 in-demand skills for all employers nationally? To figure this out, we took the top 10 companies on the Fortune 500 and explored which skills they mention most frequently in their job postings. Looking to integrate skills data into your HRIS or ATS? We can help! Top 10 US companies Walmart takes the top spot for the eighth year in a row, followed by Amazon, which jumped three spots from 2019. This is especially impressive growth considering Amazon first appeared in the Fortune 500 top 10 in 2018 (at No. 8). Continuing an unbroken Fortune 500 streak since 1955, ExxonMobil comes in third and bumped Apple down to fourth. Health and medical-related companies hold four of the next six spots with CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. Warren Buffet’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway and AT&T round out the top 10.

  1. Walmart

  2. Amazon

  3. ExxonMobil

  4. Apple

  5. CVS Health

  6. Berkshire Hathaway

  7. UnitedHealth Group

  8. McKesson

  9. AT&T

  10. AmerisourceBergen

Top 10 skills in demand at the top 10 US companies in 2020 To find the top skills, we pulled data from millions of online job postings and compared them by company from 2017-2019. This allows us to see how each company’s in-demand skills have changed over time. Here are a few key findings:

  • Communications is the No. 1 skill overall and is one of the top in-demand skills at each of the top 10 companies.

  • Other top skills include: management, leadership, customer service, operations, and sales. 

  • Many of these skills are considered “soft” skills, but are crucial in keeping huge companies functioning.

Here are the top 10 skills that appear most in these top 10 companies’ job postings. The number in parentheses indicates the number of top 10 companies for whom this skill is one of their top 10 in-demand skills.

  1. Communications (10x)

  2. Management (9x)

  3. Leadership (7x)

  4. Customer service (6x)

  5. Operations (6x)

  6. Sales (6x)

  7. Innovation (5x)

  8. Problem solving (4x)

  9. Detail oriented (4x)

  10. Presentations (3x)

As you can see, communications appears in every single one of the top 10 companies’ top 10 lists. Communications is admittedly a broad category. But it’s still relevant to the smooth operation of any company—especially large ones like the Fortune top 10 with anywhere from 21,000 to 2.2 million employees. This has become even more apparent recently with COVID-19 forcing many companies to embrace remote work.  Communications includes everything from internal and external communication strategies, to giving and receiving feedback, to listening, to public speaking, and more. Management came in a close second, appearing as a top 10 skill for each of the top 10 companies except for Berkshire Hathaway. Management is another broad, but critical, skill. It includes everything from the management of people, to financial resources, to products and projects, to operations, and more. Communications at No. 1 and management at No. 2 have traded places since our 2018 version of the Top 10 Skills at the Top 10 Companies. But in general, the skills companies want most have remained relatively consistent.  Now let’s look at each company individually and see what they are prioritizing. #1 Walmart

The top 10 skills you need to work at Walmart in 2020 Since 2017, we have seen a considerable increase in Walmart’s job postings, with a particularly large jump in the last two quarters of 2019. Unsurprisingly, the top three skills the retail giant is looking for are sales, merchandising, and customer service

  1. Sales

  2. Merchandising

  3. Customer service

  4. Communications

  5. Presentations

  6. Management

  7. Asset protection

  8. Financial analysis

  9. Sourcing

  10. Mentorship

The Sankey (or flow) diagram above shows how Walmart adjusted the skills listed in its job postings between the first two quarters of 2017 and last two quarters of 2019. This provides an interesting look at how companies and their employees evolve. In Walmart’s case, the company has maintained its focus on sales, product, and customer experience.  It’s also interesting to note the change in Walmart’s prioritization of communications. It went from being the No. 7 skill in early 2017 to the No. 4 skill in late 2019.  #2 Amazon

The top 10 skills you need to work at Amazon in 2020 Amazon catapulted from No. 5 to No. 2 this year after increasing its annual revenue by 21% to $281 billion. Notice the increased posting activity in 2019, and how communications has stayed at or near the top of the list, while management has dropped several spots since 2017. Also note the massive jump in warehousing in late 2019. We’ll likely see this skill continue to dominate Amazon’s postings into 2020 due to COVID-19. In fact, Amazon announced last month that it hired 175,000 additional people in its fulfillment and delivery network in March and April to help meet increased customer demand.

  1. Warehousing 

  2. Communications

  3. Amazon Web Services

  4. Leadership

  5. Innovation

  6. Operations

  7. Management

  8. Software development

  9. Scalability

  10. Detail oriented

As Amazon continues to grow, communications will be increasingly important to keep the digital retail juggernaut running efficiently. This could particularly come into play as Amazon builds its HQ2 and responds to employee concerns over working conditions.   #3 ExxonMobil