By: Mike Cook

Amid the New Year resolutions to shed kilos and quit drinking, there’s always one person at the party who holds up the champagne glass and pledges to change their career.

Frequent job switching is now commonplace and it’s expected Millennials will change jobs four times before they’re 32. If you’re finding yourself trawling Yudu or other internet job boards for a new career, you’re not alone.

But job hunting no longer means having experience in a specific role. Instead, as Facebook vice president of human resources Janelle Gale says, it’s your skill set that matters most.

“We actually value skills over experience in the grand scheme of things,” she said.

“Apply if you have the relevant skills even if you don’t have the right experience, because we’re looking underneath the surface for what’s really going to matter here and that’s what skills you can bring to the table.”

Transferable skills that relate to a range of industries are preferred and some big companies like Apple and Google no longer require applicants to have a higher education degree.

LinkedIn has scrolled through thousands of job listings to find the skills that will be the most sought after in 2019.

Last year, statistical analysis and data presentation skills were the top of employers’ lists, with tech design and development abilities also ranked highly.

This year, recruiters are looking to employ people with digital prowess, creativity and strong communication, favouring applicants with both hard and soft skills.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are specific and teachable abilities, such as reading, writing and mathematics. Due to their adherence to logic and observance of specific rules and circumstances, these skills are often taught in courses. These skills are more easily measured and are directly applicable to particular industries.

The most in-demand hard skills:

• cloud computing
• artificial intelligence
• analytical reasoning
• people management
• UX design
• mobile application development
• video production
• sales leadership
• translation
• audio production
• natural language processing
• scientific computing
• game development
• social media marketing
• animation
• business analysis
• journalism
• digital marketing
• industrial design
• competitive strategies
• customer service systems
• software testing
• data science
• computer graphics
• corporate communications

It’s no surprise tech skills reign supreme. In a report issued by LinkedIn economists, four out of the top five emerging jobs in 2018 were digitally based, including tech developers and engineers.

A little further down the list, communication skills also emerge. Journalism, social media marketing, digital marketing and corporate communications all appeared in the top 25 desirable skill sets.

Yet, as proficient as you might be in these areas, the more intangible soft skills will help you land the job.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills aren’t as easily quantifiable as hard skills. Often abstract in nature, these abilities are derived from the right side of the brain. Soft skills are closely linked to personality traits, and harder to measure or assess.

For those who can demonstrate soft skills, the job market is wider. Around 57 per cent of leaders attribute more weight in the job hiring process to a candidate’s proficiency in soft skills, which are considered to be more flexible assets to the workplace.

The most in-demand soft skills:

• creativity
• persuasion
• collaboration
• adaptability
• time management

This year, companies will invest in hiring staff who give them an edge in competitive markets. People who can lead technology changes and create market impact will be highly sought after. And if you have the ability to develop creative solutions, you’re more likely to be a hot commodity on the job market.

Editor of LinkedIn Learning Paul Petrone said the list reflects a shift in what employers prioritise in the workplace.

“Interestingly, the newcomers to our list were uniquely human traits. Among soft skills, creativity and adaptability joined the list for the first time, and among hard skills, people management was a new addition,” he said.

“While digital skills like cloud computing and artificial intelligence topped the list of hard skills companies need most, the emergence of these three new skills suggests that employers recognise the importance of embracing modern technologies as well as recognising those things technology can’t do — connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems.”

Feature Image Credit: Photo / 123RF

By: Mike Cook

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