JKWhitehead & Associates

Hi-Tech Hiring: Where do Soft Skills Fit?

Hi-Tech Hiring: Where do Soft Skills Fit?

Soft Skills Wordle

Last week I wrote about how the Hi-Tech industry is feeling the pinch from workers lacking basic soft skills. A recent article published in CIO Magazine (March 27, 2017) states, “Forget experience and hard skills — tomorrow’s best talent will need soft skills, and it’s a fact that sourcing and recruiting pros need to be prepared to address.” Using research carried out by LinkedIn, the article identifies ten in-demand soft skills:

  1. communications,
  2. organization,
  3. teamwork,
  4. punctuality,
  5. critical thinking,
  6. social skills,
  7. creativity,
  8. inter-personal communications,
  9. adaptability,
  10. friendly personality.

The CIO article states that, “of 291 hiring managers we (LinkedIn) surveyed, their employers struggle to find candidates with the right soft skills for 59 percent of their open jobs, and 58 percent said the lack of soft skills among candidates was ‘limiting their company’s productivity’”.

I may not agree with all of the items listed above, but I do see a correlation between my own personal experiences and this list, especially inter-personal communications, teamwork, creativity and critical thinking.

A study conducted over five years by the BC Tech Association, funded by the Canadian and BC governments and published last year, stated that,   “…gaps need to be filled, but the solution goes beyond quantity alone. Tech talent must also be calibrated to the needs of BC’s tech companies. This means individuals entering the sector must possess a blend of technical and ‘soft’ skills.” (p. 8).

“you can track and measure soft skill development, which means you can also place an ROI on it”

There are a number of on-line and self-study courses available to assist organizations in training employees. To a certain extent they seem to be reasonably effective. However, to get more specific, developmental training, which often means shifting an individual’s behaviour pattern, one-on-one coaching provides a better and more effective solution. For one thing it provides an accountability partnership between the individual and their coach to track and measure progress (yes, you can track and measure soft skill development, which means you can also place an ROI on it). This can have a significant impact on leadership and succession development within Hi-Tech companies going through their growth phase.

As stated in the CIO article, “The combined forces of fast-changing technology and digital transformation, a tight talent market, increased hiring volume, and improved job-seeker confidence means that the top of the hiring funnel is getting filled with potential candidates, and the challenge will be how to filter through the noise and find the right fit, … The differentiator will be soft skills like adaptability, leadership, communication and others…


John Whitehead, coach’s leaders to become more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.

*******Are you wondering if having a Leadership/Personal Development Coach is right for you? Contact John for a complimentary, exploratory coaching session at [email protected]********

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