BHEF Releases New Report Illustrating the Foundational Skills Needed for the Digital Economy

BHEF and Burning Glass Technologies analyzed roughly 56 million resumes and over 150 million unique U.S. job postings to examine the new skills 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) and Burning Glass Technologies have released a report analyzing the universe of skills in order to better understand the most valuable combinations of skills for the new digital economy. The New Foundational Skills of the Digital Economy: Developing the Professionals of the Future analyzes over 56 million resumes and 150 million unique job postings, revealing the essential skills employees will need as the world of work becomes increasingly digitized. 

Building on BHEF’s prior work, the reports categorizes the new foundational skills into three groups: 

  • Human Skills, or “soft skills,” which include critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills;
  • Digital Building Blocks, which are necessary for many job functions and becoming increasingly useful outside digitally intensive fields, include analyzing data, software development, and computer programming; and
  • Business Enabler Skills, which synthesize the other skill groups, including project management, communicating data, and digital design.

“We are seeing sectors that were previously resistant to technological change becoming more digitized every day,” said Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of BHEF. “In order to succeed in the new digital economy, employees need to become what we call ‘The Blended Digital Professional.’ A professional who possesses a mix of Human Skills, Digital Building Blocks, and Business Enabler Skills will not only be better suited to adapt to disruption but will also increase their earning potential and improve their long-term career prospects.”

No longer confined to highly technical positions, these new foundational skills are already sought by the majority of employers across various sectors of the economy. Workers who obtain these skills will be able to earn more than their peers, and the report shows that the value of these skills will only increase. However, there is a mismatch between the skills employers desperately need and the skills the workforce has to offer.

The report provides recommendations for how businesses can better signal their need for foundational skills and for how institutions of higher education can better provide students with these skills. Additionally, recommendations are provided for college students who will soon be entering the digital workforce. 

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
BHEF is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of the Fortune 500 c-suite executives and leading university presidents dedicated to advancing innovative education and workforce solutions and improving U.S. competitiveness. BHEF utilizes the latest market intelligence to develop industry and higher education partnerships, change models, and innovative talent solutions in high-demand and emerging fields. Through these methods, BHEF creates impactful, long-lasting, and essential pathways that align higher education with evolving needs of today’s workforce. Learn more at