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Soft skills “critical” to dealing with COVID-19 uncertainty

One in three employers are currently redesigning roles in direct response to the impact of the pandemic, new research finds. 

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Soft skills in-demand include effective communication, strong leadership and strategic thinking
Soft skills in-demand include effective communication, strong leadership and strategic thinking

A survey of more than 1,500 executives with hiring power in Europe and Brazil took place in July this year, to find out which skills are most in-demand.

 

The top two in-demand skills are focused around IT security (32 percent) and IT management (30 percent), while financial management (25 percent) and business planning and analysis (21 percent) are also key.

 

The survey finds these business management skills are being prioritised by employers as they look to ensure resilience in the case of further disruption, as well as to support new business strategies considering the evolving economic environment.

 

HR, talent acquisition and office support roles are not only in higher demand at present, but have increased in importance given the support they provide companies going through business and digital transformations, as well as guiding predominantly remote workforces through new processes and functions.

 

Despite an increased focus on tech capabilities for specific roles, two fifths (41 percent) of executives believe that soft skills will also be essential for dealing with the continued uncertainty associated with COVID-19.

 

The soft skills in-demand include creative thinking, agility, effective communication, strong leadership and strategic thinking.

 

Matt Weston, managing director of Robert Half UK, said: “Remote working has enabled talent pools around the world to open up which, for some companies, means that existing employees with key skills can be redeployed in the short-term to deliver business-critical roles. For others, however, changing customer demands and new working patterns have meant skills gaps have suddenly appeared – for digital transformation and e-commerce, in particular.

 

“Effective permanent, temporary, and interim hiring strategies can help bridge these gaps by upskilling teams with the required specialist competencies and behaviours needed.”

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