The Skills That Top Hiring Managers Want

Last week we were talking to you about the current skills gap, and what the BCC had to say about the matter, though I never really got into the nitty gritty of what exactly the gap means. However, a recent article from LinkedIn has shined a light on the reasons why companies are struggling to find the right candidates.

Interviewing 25 of the top 50 LinkedIN companies in the U.S., Maya Pope-Chappell found that most recruiters were looking for candidates who have skills in: machine learning, cyber security, data analytics and cloud technology. And of those with these skills, the most highly sort after job titles are engineers and data scientists.

Elaborating on this, Karla Samdahl, Cisco’s global head of executive talent acquisition, said, “bleeding-edge technology skills are relatively scarce and highly sought after.” And not so surprisingly. Bleeding-edge tech, if you’ve never heard of it before, is a category of technologies so new that they could have a high risk of being unreliable and lead adopters to incur greater expense in order to make use of them.

So companies are looking for candidates with high levels of analytical and technological know-how, who are savvy with the most recent and even as-yet-unused tech trends. That’s not asking much, is it?

Where do we go about starting to untangle this problem? Well, there are multiple ways of looking at the issue:

Companies Are Approaching Recruitment Wrong

Whilst it’s all well and good to want to recruit people with these skill sets, we can’t avoid the fact that they don’t exist. At least in the numbers that businesses desire. So maybe these companies need to reevaluate how they are sourcing.

Personally I am a massive advocate of continuous learning. As a professional you ought to be further expanding your skill-set, and this couldn’t be more important in this day and age. Perhaps businesses can be doing more to encourage those already working within the company to develop these skills by funding courses and incentivising staff.

Education Needs Reform

Look, we all know this is true, but it’s such a massive task no one wants to go near the job. However, the simple, unavoidable fact is that our education systems are archaic and unable to cope with the constant pressure of new technological developments.

The problem is that lecturers, and those who create syllabi, are unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting world of tech. And are therefore unable to teach the next generations the skills that will be deemed valuable to employers year upon year. The solution? Agile, devolved learning where students are as responsible for the creation of the courses as the lecturers? I don’t know…

Candidates Need Reassurance

The simple fact of the matter is that these skills require a great deal of learning, are difficult to pick up, and could effectively become redundant in the next few years. Or even the next few months. Therefore it’s no wonder that there’s a dearth of talent available.

Undergraduates and candidates that are considering a career in tech need to know that their skills will be valued and appropriately recompensed. They also need to know that they will have job security. How can this be done? See points one and two.

Until these things are addressed I fear we are unlikely to see an decrease in the skills gap, but are certain to see an increase in demand. A tricky position to be in, indeed.

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