There’s good news at the helm for IT professionals and those graduating with tech-related degrees. According to a survey by Robert Half, managers plan to expand their teams and add more tech talent by the end of 2018. The advancing and upgrading of technological systems is occurring more rapidly than the hiring of associates able to address these issues. This rapid industry expansion dictates that certain skills are rising in demand. The top five abilities most consistently searched for involve expertise within:
- Cloud security
- Cloud computing
- Cloud architecture
- Business intelligence
With these areas of expertise highly valued, employers are now discerning which skills are necessary upon hire. Industries such as healthcare, finance, and manufacturing are experiencing a high demand for tech associates, which encourages human resources departments to hire candidates perhaps not as technically skilled, but who demonstrate clear potential and an eagerness to learn.
IT focus is no longer centered only on digital analysis or system upgrades. 47 percent of CIOs describe their teams are now collaborating with marketing/communications departments to support digital initiatives. It is necessary for IT associates to express and describe technical terms, strategies, and challenges. The possession of these soft skills bridges gaps and fosters effective communication. This means employers are interested in candidates with strong listening, critical thinking, and communication skills.
Given the need for interpersonal as well as technical skills, it makes sense that IT associates possessing these skills are requesting additional benefits — the most popular being the ability to work from home. Companies are now creating a combination of in-office workplaces and flexible remote options for IT professionals. Referrals are a main motivator to improve this candidate experience and a critical means of discovering and placing new candidates. Nearly 30 percent of current hires say referrals are the best source of high-quality talent. Delivering benefits popular to IT candidates and improving their experience ensures not just the filling of current positions, but of future positions as well.
This year, hiring decisions have been about more than updated technology knowledge. Soft skills are now integral for IT candidates, as is employer accountability regarding candidate and employee experience. It behooves organizations to retain current IT practices as well as to remain flexible with proficiency levels. IT candidates should learn to comfortably translate tech speak into layman’s terms, as strong communication skills are an asset to an IT department and its overall organization.