According to a recent study from the biz/tech consulting firm, West Monroe Partners, 1 in 3 millennial HR professionals surveyed said they frequently pass on an IT job candidate if they don’t have strong soft skills. Tech jobs aren’t easy to fill, but you want to make sure your new hire is great both behind and in front of the screen. So, if you’re tired of hiring people who look good on paper but can’t collaborate or write well to save their lives, you should start by hiring a millennial to lead the change.
West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy’s latest study “Closing the Technology Leadership Gap,” investigates the state of soft skills, defined as communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, and leadership in technology and IT hiring decisions. Specifically, it pinpoints the lack of focus on soft skills in today’s workplaces as the cause of productivity, innovation and growth issues.
The report found that, while the importance of soft skills has increased significantly over the past three years, many companies don’t train for these capabilities on technology teams – including IT. The study also found that leadership is technology employees’ most underdeveloped soft skill.
West Monroe surveyed 1,250 individuals across two surveys made up of 600 HR and recruiting professionals, and 650 full-time employees who regularly work with their company’s technology teams. Key highlights include:
- HR Leaders Want Soft Skills (But They Don’t Cultivate Them)
- 98 percent of HR leaders say soft skills are important in landing a technology position – so important that 67 percent say they have withheld a job offer from an otherwise qualified technical candidate solely because they lacked soft skills.
They ranked verbal communication and collaboration the most important soft skills. Once a hired, however, most companies don’t invest in developing their technology professionals’ soft skills further. In fact, around one-quarter of companies provide soft skills training to line-of-business employees, but not to IT.
Technology Professionals Aren’t Seen as Leaders
HR leaders consider leadership to be the least important soft skill for prospective technology hires. Technology employees often don’t ascend the career ladder, with 39 percent of companies lacking a technology background in the c-suite. This absence affects collaboration between business and tech employees.
Lacking Soft Skills Hurts An Organization’s Ability to Innovate
43 percent of full-time employees say soft-skills-related challenges with IT have negatively impacted their work, which is problematic considering that innovative projects increasingly require employees to work alongside each other.
Greg Layok is a managing director with West Monroe. He leads the firm’s Technology practice, integrating technical capabilities by partnering with our firm’s business consultants to solve our clients’ most pressing issues. As a member of the firm’s executive and technology leadership teams, Greg is responsible for West Monroe’s technology strategy to drive innovation and service offerings. Greg has more than 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor to senior executives and delivering value to clients with solutions that leverage his background in business strategy, product development, software engineering, and advanced analytics.
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