It’s no secret that the economy, the workplace, and jobs are changing quickly.
In light of the constantly-evolving economy and workplace, it appears that the major skills human resources should watch out for are shifting to meet the fickle nature of the economy.
As a result, soft skills, agility, analytic ability, and technological skills are at the top of the “must-have” list for HR teams as they screen candidates.
Read on to learn more…
“Soft skills – which are needed to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize – are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically,” notes the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Unfortunately – there’s a lack of candidates who possess these soft skills, causing a soft-skills gap. SHRM notes that this gap is attributed to young workers who have a preference for technology versus human interaction, thus leading to a lack of interpersonal skills.
As a result, academic institutions, like Sofia University in Palo Alto, California, are focusing their efforts on teaching soft skills in their curriculum. Faculty members at the university work closely with corporate partners (like Google) to provide work-ready graduates with skills HR departments want.
“We do not know exactly what hard skills will be required in the future because they are changing so fast,” says Ross Shott, Vice President of Sofia University. “However, we do know that soft skills will increase in importance as hard-skill requirements become more intense and complex.”
The workplace is changing – and it’s changing fast. As such, employers are putting a heavy emphasis on looking for candidates who have a willingness to learn and adapt.
In fact, Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report found that “virtually all CEO’s (90 percent) believe their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies, and 70 percent say their organization does not have the skills to adapt.”
It also found that the “half-life” of a learned skill is just 5 years! So it makes sense that a willingness to learn should be front-and-center as a skill for human resources departments to go after.
What’s more, a recent Gallup Business Journal article noted that the changing composition of teams in the workplace increasingly incorporates full-time, contract, and freelance or “gig-economy” workers. So your candidates should be agile enough to effectively collaborate with team members of all job types and cultures, while adjusting to the changing capabilities of technology in the workplace.
The good news is that American adults are aware of this need, and are up for the challenge of an ever-changing environment. Millennials, in particular, love the idea of learning new skills, as reported in Gallup’s How Millennials Want to Work and Live report. A full 87 percent of respondents born between 1980 and 1996 said that “development” is important in a job.
And while Shott says it’s difficult to pinpoint specific hard skills of the future, the ability to thrive in increasingly diverse workplaces will become critical, particularly among candidates being groomed for leadership positions down the road.
“The only thing we can be certain of is the value of leadership skills that can work with increasingly diverse teams,” says Shott.
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Since fast-evolving technology is such a powerful force for change in the workplace, looking for candidates comfortable with technology is a no-brainer for human resources departments looking to fill jobs today and in the future.
David Scarola is the Chief Experience Officer of The Alternative Board, the world’s largest provider of peer executive advisory boards, currently serving more than 3000 businesses worldwide.
“In 2017, every function of your business relies on technology,” he says. “If you want effective employees, seek out candidates who not only keep up with trends and changes, but are excited about them.”
Scarola says this means considering candidates with more technical prowess, rather than those who have only strong creative skills, even for typically creative roles. He uses a traditional marketing role as an example.
“While the creative side of marketing is critically important to developing clever ads and copy, marketing is increasingly involving things like online advertising, re-marketing and social media promotion,” says Scarola.
He adds that as marketing becomes more dependent on technical skills such as producing web-based advertising and the ability to navigate social media platforms and associated scheduling programs, marketing hires should exhibit highly developed technical skills.
Along with comfort using new and evolving technology, human resources departments are increasingly looking for the candidates who can just plain “figure things out”.
According to a recent CNBC story, when popular online job board site, Monster, looked at over 943,000 postings, “problem solving” is one of the skills that today’s employers most ask for – across a wide variety of sectors and jobs.
Employers want candidates who can analyze the effectiveness of new technology, and find creative ways to customize them for their own workplace – so they want candidates with good problem-solving abilities.
Several other skills today and tomorrow’s human resources departments are looking for include the practical knowledge associated with emerging technologies. According to Pew Research’s report on The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training, desirable skills include working with data and algorithms, artificial intelligence programming, 3D modelling and using 3D printers.
Technological advancements are forever altering the economy, as well as the way we live and work. To make sure your company doesn’t fall behind, keep an eye out for candidates who display the skills needed to survive and thrive now and in the future.