Tech employers value soft skills as much as software proficiency

Employers in the Tech sector look for soft skills and emotional intelligence alongside technical expertise in potential candidates, according to specialist recruiter Randstad Technologies.

In an analysis of job advertisements posted on their site, Randstad found that Tech employers frequently look for soft skills when hiring new staff. Soft skills or emotional intelligence such as being self-aware and having the social skills to interact well and empathise with others is sought after just as much as technical expertise, with employers in the Tech sector frequently mentioning these in their list of required attributes.

Soft skills in tech ;/ Prominence

Team work 66%
Communication 43%
Organisation 28%
Time management 22%
Problem solving 11%
Leadership 10%
Interpersonal 8%
Relationship building 6%
Negotiation 4%
The analysis found that team players are highly sought after, with two-thirds of employers (66%) looking for those who could collaborate and work well with others. Candidates with strong communication skills were the second most popular with two in five employers (43%) mentioning this term in their job advertisements. Over a quarter of employers looked for excellent organisational skills (28%) and one in five (22%) mentioned good time management.

"Recent research by the Development Economics group estimated that soft skills are worth £88bn per year to businesses"

Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Technologies, comments: “To stay competitive and ensure long-term success, businesses require not just the technical expertise of its employees but also their soft skillset. Particularly when it comes to face-to-face interaction or winning new business, soft skills are essential. Recent research by the Development Economics group estimated that soft skills are worth £88bn per year to businesses. That is why employers are increasingly seeking out candidates not just with impressive qualifications to offer but also strong communication skills, passion, and the ability to work effectively within a team.

“It is easy to see soft skills as slightly “wishy-washy” but their impact on businesses is profound, whether it is about responding effectively to clients or managing deadlines. That’s why it’s important for candidates to stay ahead of the curve and take soft skills seriously. Though qualifications and technical skills are central to IT jobs it still goes hand in hand with soft skills. For instance IT project manager jobs or even network engineer jobs require a candidate to be effective, have strong organisation and time management skills. Teamwork is another particularly valuable skill as projects can encompass multiple departments and communication across them is vital to ensure that deadlines are met and tasks are done in the right sequence.”

People not robots

Personality traits / Prominence
Effective 31%
Passion 18%
Flexible 15%
Accurate 14%
Initiative 9%
Driven 8%
Enthusiastic 5%
Employers also frequently mentioned desirable personality traits together with specific soft skills in the list of things they were looking for. At the top of the list were efficient and productive candidates with almost a third of employers (31%) including the term ‘effective’ in their list of desired skills. Almost one in five employers (18%) stated they were looking to hire someone with demonstrable ‘passion’. Having the right attitude is just as important as hard skills with employers also mentioning personality traits such as flexibility, accuracy, the ability to show initiative and enthusiasm in their list of desired attributes.

Ruth Jacobs, said: “Often when there is a roster of great candidates with impressive CVs, having the right attitude can differentiate you from the crowd. The ability to work well under pressure, having strong communication and organisational skills are just as valuable as a first class degree. These days professional success is more than just having the technical expertise as employers look for well-rounded candidates that can contribute to the success and performance of a company.”

Changing careers

"Prospective candidates need to show that they have the ability to fit seamlessly into a new environment"

As well as helping individuals thrive in the workplace and progress up the career ladder, soft skills are a particularly useful asset when looking to move into a different sector. Soft skills represent a transferable asset that can help workers thrive in a new environment.

Ruth Jacobs, added: “Changing career paths can be a very daunting task. There are typically a range of technical skills to pick up and in addition there can be a whole new corporate culture to become accustomed to. Prospective candidates need to show that they have the ability to fit seamlessly into a new environment as well as secure positive working relationships with colleagues from an unfamiliar industry. This is especially the case for IT professionals who can transfer their hard skills and qualifications to other industries. As well as having both their soft and hard skills in demand, soft skills can also be a valuable asset in such instances and help smooth out the initial rough patches of entering a new sector of work.” ; ;

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