Demand for technical skills in programming and other IT-related fields has increased exponentially in the past year. One reason for this is the emergence of COVID-19 and its impact on the workplace. Remote jobs have further increased access to a large range of talented and experienced individuals companies can pick from. However, there are sure to still be changed in the upcoming years.
Companies looking for expertise in certain industries have begun to struggle to find the right level of skills needed during the hiring process. Even current employees display difficulty maintaining the necessary skillsets companies need. The technology industry is the most affected by this. Software development, analytics, and project management seek the highest number of new hires in the technology industry.
Where do soft skills come in?
Soft skills, or skills developed in regard to relationships and other factors in the workplace, serve to fill a gap in the hiring process. These skills are becoming more popular due to a collective lack of knowledge and experience among candidates. Some soft skills include:
- Critical thinking
- Work ethic
- Time management
From that list, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving are the most important. Being able to communicate effectively helps businesses and their clients maintain a satisfactory relationship. Critical thinking skills aids in adapting to changes—a necessary trait for businesses. Problem-solving allows companies to work through obstacles to complete assignments on time. Staying ahead of competitors ranks problem-solving skills high on hiring criteria lists.
The Significance of Remote Positions
Due to COVID-19, remote jobs became the primary type of work on a global scale in 2020. This has remained true in 2021. It’s likely to continue that way for at least several years, if not becoming a central part of the workplace. The accessibility to a larger pool of candidates in the hiring process became a valuable part of many businesses’ success. However, differences in technical (also referred to as ‘hard’) skills and soft skills have made hiring exceptionally difficult as well.
Aside from hiring new employees, some companies have resorted to upskilling. Upskilling involves training current employees in necessary skills. Corporations like Microsoft have taken that a bit further by providing public classes and information on popular skills. These businesses intend to spread their name in a positive light while attempting to lessen the gap between technical and soft skills. The same is applied to the reliance on soft skills instead of educational qualifications such as college degrees.
Looking to the Future
Technical skills will remain at the forefront of desired characteristics in potential employees. Hiring managers, recruiters, and businesses should continue to prioritize real-world experience. A balance between good technical and soft skills is the ideal goal of every member in the hiring process. However, as that balance becomes more difficult to find in candidates, a decision will likely have to be made. Should businesses value technical skills or soft skills more?
The answer will not be so simple. So far, 2021 has shown leniency toward one or the other. It all depends on the individual needs of a company.