To come up with our rankings, MONEY and compensation data and software company PayScale.com combed through the compensation experts’ database of 54 million employee profiles, ranging across 350 industries and 15,000 job types, looking at worker pay and the skills employees said were critical to their job. For all the analyses, MONEY focused on professional job titles. Here’s what we did with that information:
For the Most Valuable Career Skills list, we identified those correlated with at least 3% higher pay for three or more major job types—defined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classifications—holding constant title, location, experience, and industry.
Best Skills to Earn a Promotion highlights talents that are correlated with at least 2% higher pay and are disproportionately more likely to show up at the executive or manager/supervisor level than at lower job levels. We then ranked them by how often they appear, with higher pay used as a tiebreaker.
The Most Flexible Career Skills correlate with at least 2% higher pay in seven or more major job types.
The 25 Skills That Deliver the Biggest Salary Boost list identifies the skills that offered the biggest payoff in any type of job, holding constant such factors as title, experience, age, and location.
For the Highest-Paying Skills for 100-Plus Jobs, MONEY identified all professional job types defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, then worked with PayScale to identify—where available—the three skills associated with the highest pay premium.
To see full coverage of MONEY’s Best Career Skills 2016, click here.
And finally, for the 25 Skills to Leave Off Your Resume, MONEY and PayScale culled the self-identified “skills” that actually correlate with lower pay across the board, holding other factors constant.