Soft skills are most-desirable, says LinkedIn global talent trends report

By Hani Yassine

Examining the changing relationship between employee and employer, LinkedIn recently unveiled their Annual Global Trends report, which displays a paradigm shift in what Human Resources leaders are looking for in potential candidates. The report, which gathers its results from over 5,000 talent professionals across the globe (with 287 from Canada), reveals how soft skills, work flexibility, anti-harassment measures and pay transparency are among the rising trends sought after in today’s career landscape.

Topping the most-desirable list is soft skills. The LinkedIn report states that 94 per cent of Canadian talent professionals find it to be a critical trend when it comes to recruitment. As advancements in automation and AI further compromise the need for hard skills, employers are eyeing teamwork, work ethic and flexibility as essential to a company.

“As technology automates hard skills faster, there is a driving demand for employees to be able to think outside of the box, navigate change, and work well with others,” said Chris Brown, LinkedIn Canada’s director of talent solutions. “Strong soft skills – the one thing that machines can’t replace – are becoming absolutely vital to professionals and businesses alike.”

While most survey respondents have difficulty assessing soft skills, the report indicates that the need for them is “here to stay,” Brown says. He believes that asking problem-solving questions and identifying the skills needed for a position are just some of the methods employers can use to better identify soft skills.

Another rising trend that Brown describes as a “new normal” is flexibility, which 71 per cent of Canadian talent professionals deem an important trait to possess, the report says. The ability to work remotely, for example, has become less of a perk and more of a necessity. By providing employees flexible options for their work day – autonomy and independence – 69 per cent of Canadian hiring professionals find it helps boost worker morale, which in turn leads to greater productivity.

More companies are also viewing anti-harassment measures as an essential component, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo movement. With 78 per cent of Canadian employers keeping a critical eye on the trend, workers are finding themselves increasingly empowered to report harassment, with companies also refreshing policies and encouraging open dialogue to ensure a safe work environment.

The final trend examined in the report is pay transparency, where discussion of salary expectations could bring an awkward dynamic between employer and candidate. With transparency being at the forefront of 55 per cent of the Canadian employers surveyed, Brown says sites like PayScale, Glassdoor and LinkedIn make the conversation a bit easier by having company salaries posted on their pages. He says by openly providing the information, “employers are able to create more efficiencies for both Canadians and themselves by setting expectations early in the hiring process.”

Based on the findings of the report, Brown ultimately believes the continued development of these trends will play a key role both in candidates carving their career paths and talent professionals remaining competitive in Canada.

“Based on these trends, it’s clear that the relationship between employee and employer is evolving. We can expect that employers will continue to adapt to these trends while employees continue to upskill and reskill,” Brown said. “The increase in job stability from developing their interpersonal skills could last for several years and set them on the path to success.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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