What Is Your 2020 Essential Digital And Soft Skills Checklist?

We look at the essential skills needed for next year (including digital and soft skills) and consider how recruiters can help businesses achieve success.

The world is experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, as we move, on an unprecedented scale, to a digitally-automated and AI-augmented business world.

This digital transformation is both exciting and turbulent, involving restructuring, rapid up-skilling and most importantly mass-hiring. Lloyds Banking Group is one example of this: earlier this year they announced that they will be creating 8,000 new digital jobs as part of a 3 year, £3 billion digital transformation. Lloyds is part of a digital transformation wave sweeping across the business sector, making the hiring of digital talent a key industry-wide imperative in 2020.

Data Scientists and Software Engineers in short supply

As a result of this industry-wide digitisation agenda, competition for digital talent will be fierce. Employers will need proactive and creative talent acquisition strategies, which also combine alacrity and sound decision-making, or risk losing out to the well-prepared, early movers.

Recruiters can be of great service here, as not only are they primed to find scarce digital talent quickly, they can help you tailor your employer value proposition to ensure that desirable candidates sign on your dotted line and not your competitors.

Top 20 hard skills (digital) for 2020

This list below, an amalgam of research from LinkedIn Learning and the World Economic Forum, provides a more detailed breakdown of the hard, digital skills that are going to be in demand in 2020. The percentage figure shows the proportion of companies likely to be adopting these technologies next year. What’s striking here is that even though these are emerging skills, there is a mainstream demand for many of them:

  • 1. User and entity big data analytics (85%)
  • 2. App and Web Enabled Markets (75%)
  • 3. Internet of Things (75%)
  • 4. Artificial Intelligence (73%)
  • 5. Cloud Computing (72%)
  • 6. Digital trade (59%)
  • 7. Virtual and Augmented Reality (58%)
  • 8. Encryption (54%)
  • 9. New Materials (52%)
  • 10. Wearable Devices (46%)
  • 11. Distributed ledger (Blockchain) (45%)
  • 12. 3D Printing (41%)
  • 13. Autonomous transport (40%)
  • 14. Stationary Robots (37%)
  • 15. Quantum computing (36%)
  • 16. Non-humanoid land robots (33%)
  • 17. Biotechnology (28%)
  • 18. Humanoid Robots (23%)
  • 19. Aerial and Underwater robots (19%)
  • 20. UX Design

Digital talent won’t come knocking at your door

Demand is outstripping supply with respect to quality digital talent and in order to attract these professionals, employers will need to develop individualised hiring strategies for each skill-set. You may find some digital talent on job boards, but in many cases, you’ll have to dig deeper than that.

Unless you are Google or Apple, digital talent won’t come knocking at your door, you’ll have to track down scarce digital talent, using proactive tactics such as industry networking, employee referral schemes, apprenticeships, or engaging a specialist recruiter to locate talent on your behalf.

Digital transformation can be turbulent, putting an emphasis on soft skills

The digital transformation process that is currently sweeping through business generates a lot of turbulence as teams and workflow processes are strategically reorganised.

In these often-unsettled environments, soft skills such as emotional intelligence and decision-making are as important as technical skills to getting the job done. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report lists the top 10 soft skills in this new digital era:

  • 1.Complex Problem Solving
  • 2.Critical Thinking
  • 3.Creativity
  • 4.People Management
  • 5.Coordinating with others
  • 6.Emotional Intelligence
  • 7.Judgment and Decision Making
  • 8.Service Orientation
  • 9.Negotiation
  • 10.Cognitive Flexibility

Super-talent combines hard and soft skills

The digital worker’s ideal success profile is evolving quickly in this transformational environment. Digital super-talent, that is candidates who combine 1st class technical skills with 1st class soft skills, will be most in-demand, having the unique ability to deliver digital projects in customer-centric and rapidly transforming business environments.

2020 is going to be an exciting year for digital talent acquisition. In many cases, employers will get the opportunity to be hiring for first-of-their-kind digital roles, never seen in their business previously. At the same time, there will be a much greater emphasis on social skills in tech-hiring. Proactive and skill-specific hiring strategies, which incorporate specialist recruiters as necessary, will be crucial to success and ensuring employers meet their 2020 talent acquisition goals.

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