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The Softer Side of IT

Today, we’re experiencing a high demand for information technology (IT) professionals globally, and the talent gap is growing. Further complicating the matter for IT leaders is the fact that they’re finding they need to also be hiring for soft skills, in addition to hard skills, in order to maintain an effective IT team.

Employers are telling us they need more than strong technical competencies from their IT talent. They expect top IT professionals to also be skilled communicators and strong collaborators. This is a definite shift from 10 years ago even, and one that needs to be championed from within the organization. IT leaders must assume ownership of prioritizing and valuing soft skills within their teams, and evaluating where communication and collaboration deficits exist to direct skills development appropriately.” Ram Chandrashekar, ManpowerGroup Executive Vice President of Operational Excellence and IT, and President of Asia Pacific Middle East.

Experis recently conducted research on IT skills across the globe, in ten major markets, and discovered that more than one in four, or 26 percent, of IT leaders indicate they are seeking employees who can demonstrate communication as a skill. In addition 18 percent are seeking employees who can demonstrate collaboration as a skill. Experis also found that these soft skills are scarce within today’s IT talent pool, making it even tougher for employers to gain the skills they require.

Why are soft skills so in-demand? We’re seeing a shift in the role of the IT professional. The IT profession’s responsibilities have expanded from back-end system operations to include front-end experiences requiring cross-functional communication with other departments.

IT professionals who have developed effective communication and collaboration soft skills are better able to:

  1. Understand and convey the business value of IT projects to non-technical stakeholders
  2. Earn buy-in and support
  3. Collaborate more effectively on teams
  4. Attain positive outcomes more quickly
  5. Deliver successful projects.

The value for IT professionals who demonstrate proficiencies in these soft skills is clear.

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