Each year, Fortune released its 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 in demand and what those companies 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.

Top 10 U.S. 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.


Meredith Metsker is a writer and researcher for Emsi, whose mission is to use data to drive economic prosperity. This story was originally published on Emsi’s website