Today, more global organizations like Google, Apple, IBM and Facebook are no longer emphasizing the need for specific titles or experience and instead are shifting towards a focus on skills when considering candidates for a job.
According to research by LinkedIn, the skills companies need most are determined by looking at skills that are most sought after based on six months of data (April to October 2022) from employers, hirers, and job-posters on LinkedIn. Demand is measured by identifying skills possessed by members who were hired or InMailed, as well as the skills listed in paid job postings. The results showed that employers are looking for workers with a combination of both hard and soft skills.
However, 75% of employers said they are struggling to find candidates with the right combination of technical and soft skills in this climate of global talent shortage and economic downturn. One tactic employers have been relying on to overcome this challenge is finding candidates with the right personality fit - i.e., the right soft skills - and teaching them the hard skills they need to carry out the job effectively.
Let’s first consider the meaning of hard and soft skills
- Investopedia defines hard skills as "specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as typing, writing, math, reading and the ability to use software programs". Hard skills are characterized by being quantifiable, such as proficiency in a foreign language, earning a degree or certificate, operating a machine, or programming a computer. These skills can be learned in school or read about in a book and apply to a specific type of role or industry.
- Soft skills, on the other hand, are less tangible and harder to quantify; such as etiquette, getting along with others, listening and engaging in small talk. Soft skills are characterized as more personality-oriented interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, flexibility, patience, persuasion and time management. As employers find it easier to teach new hires hard skills, employers often look for job applicants with specific soft skills instead. So, what are the top hard and soft skills companies value the most in 2023?
The top FIVE most in-demand soft skills:
It's no surprise that management skills are one of the top five in-demand skills employers are seeking as they are cross-industry and cross-functional. An effective manager has a positive impact on the business by boosting employee engagement, productivity and retention.
Having a great idea, product or service is one thing, but the key is persuading people to buy into it. Sales skills will need to be able to form a strong, convincing argument why you, or your product or services, are the very best, or the “right” one!
Communication is key for effective team work. Working with people who have different perspectives or areas of expertise often results in better ideas. As projects become increasingly more complex and more team members opt to work remotely, effective communication in both the real and digital worlds grow more important.
Customer Experience (CX) has become an increasing focus for customers and therefore businesses in recent years. According to a 2022 Salesforce report, nearly 90% of buyers say experience a company provides matters as much as products or services. Those who can develop their customer service skills are sure to be the cream of the crop when it comes to finding their next job role.
Modern workplaces need leaders who are dynamic and able to adapt to the rapidly changing tides to overcome challenges or spot new opportunities for growth. Great leaders often have a high emotional intelligence (EQ) which encompasses traits such as empathy, motivation, self-awareness, self-management and social skills.
Based on the research, one thing is clear: employers value skills over experience. By paying attention to in-demand skills such as the above, you can be sure to remain in-demand among employers. If you don't feel confident in your skills then maybe it's time to bolster or refresh them by looking to upskill or diversify your skillset. It's never too late, lifelong learning is an essential component of staying relevant in today's turbulent work environment.