Why new skills will be the hottest commodity in the hybrid working economy

Our lives already look different, post-pandemic. Some days we commute between the bedroom and study, dress smartly from the waist up, and make our own lunches. However, we’ve proved that most office-based roles can be carried out at home, even if things might outwardly look a little different. So, since things are going so well, do we need to change role descriptions, assessment methods, and recruitment techniques? These will be some of the most significant changes and challenges.

A new breed of professional, with new skills

New skills are coming to the forefront as companies rethink their operations and how they deliver products and services. For a long time, skills have shared equal footing with experience and cultural fit as we assess a candidate’s suitability against a job specification. However, a new breed of professional is emerging – someone who possesses the right combination of hard and soft skills. These professionals will stand tall in the recruitment market, with increasingly less emphasis on whether they have gained their experience in a similar company. Similarly, cultural fit regarding personality and extracurricular team activity suddenly feels like an archaic measure of whether someone will work well within a team or possess the knowledge and skills to pick up a role and run with it.

Meeting the challenge of matching new skills

WCC CEO Jan Jensen explains the challenge:

Suddenly, scanning CVs for keywords relating to relevant experience may not produce the right candidates to move businesses forward. Instead, employment strategists working with multiple industries and whole economies need to focus not just on where people have worked previously, but the skills that enable them to slot in and make an immediate impact in any sector. Since these aren’t always the lateral moves we’ve become accustomed to making in the past, we’ve developed software solutions for the employment market that remove expectation and bias to discover a bigger pool of candidates with a wider range of competencies. For too long, employment counselors and jobseekers restrict themselves to a ‘bullet point’ approach to jobseeker assessment that fails to represent the depth of skills an individual possesses accurately.”

He continues:

In areas of high labor shortage, there are two possible routes to take. The first will simply require companies to pay a premium to ‘rent’ skills at the point of necessity. The second route would be for companies to scale up their contract and contingent hiring, even partnering with other organizations, to ensure that there is a pool they can tap into as needed.”

Uncovering the skills available in the community

At present, many governments are simply unaware of the extent of the available skills in their workforces, and critically, exactly where they are located. WCC’s employment market solutions allow advisers to interpret free text entries to uncover the candidates best suited to the role in question. Our solutions use advanced taxonomies and algorithms to enable new skills matching at a granular level, giving caseworkers and advisers an accurate representation of the full complement of skills in a job market. This process can unearth a cluster of hidden talent available for immediate deployment to plug gaps, enabling better targeting of training resources to upskill jobseekers in areas of genuine inadequacy and quickly address new requirements as they emerge.

Most sought after hard and soft skills

Last year, LinkedIn published a list of the hard and soft skills most sought after in recruitment. Several of the top 10 in-demand hard skills were previously under the radar – with blockchain now ranked number one, following the steep increase in the number of blockchain developer roles in the last two to three years. The other new entry – affiliate marketing – has been around since the mid-1990s but has gained much traction during the last decade. In 2020 the top four soft skills held fast – creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and adaptability. Emotional intelligence entered the top five for the first time, and the coming months will likely see other new hybrid soft skills emerge as desirable workforce attributes.

Organizations must be flexible

Analysis carried out by Gartner in 2020 showed that employers were listing desired skills in job ads 33% more than the previous three years, probably to hire more quickly and shorten the onboarding process. Public Employment Services experienced the same trend in their markets, pushing for faster turnaround times on vacancies intended to backfill vacant roles. ‘Hitting the ground running’ has been a popular term for decades now, but induction programs previously allowed some time for the new hire to integrate. The pandemic has streamlined induction capabilities and forced many companies to accelerate the way they do business. Daily operations may have transformed to the extent that most companies now need extra, different skills absent from their current workforce.

Reskilling a workforce takes time, so that companies may need to at least temporarily ‘buy-in’ skills. Perhaps by tapping into the freelance and contract talent whose everyday working practices are such that they are more likely to have already updated and diversified their skills complement.

WCC solutions uncover new workforce insights

Whatever stage you are at in this process, WCC is here to help you discover the insight that your markets and economies need to thrive. You can find more information about our employment market solutions here

Article by: WCC Community
Published on: December 7, 2021

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