In a job market that stresses the importance of finding employees with strong technological skills, a new LinkedIn study showed that workers with interpersonal skills are harder to come by.
Recently LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss a study that found that the gap in interpersonal skills was three times higher than that of software engineering. Interpersonal skills, including communication, reasoning, and team coordination, can be developed by anyone, Weiner said in the interview.
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"These kinds of interpersonal skills you can pick up in classes that are online, increasingly, and it's wonderful to see that there's a rise in the amount of courses being offered and the number of providers who are increasingly thinking about where the jobs are and will be and the skills required to obtain those jobs," Weiner said in the interview.
This advice appears contradictory to recent pushes to close the "tech talent gap." When most people think of skill shortages in the workplace, they likely think of hard skills like defending against cybersecurity or full stack development, not the soft skills Weiner advocated for.
According to a TechRepublic CIO jury, 83% of respondents said they had trouble finding talent that possessed the technology skills they needed. But a 2018 West Monroe Partners research report found that some tech professionals who lack soft skills have trouble advancing in their workplace.
Weiner emphasized that his own personal leadership style is focused on compassion.
"I think within a company, a business, a team—I like to do that to help the other person achieve their objective or achieve what it is that you're trying to accomplish together more effectively," he said in the interview.
Professionals, especially those in technology, should consider their own soft skills. Combining strong technical skills with interpersonal expertise could go a long way to helping you stand out as a job seeker or as a candidate for a promotion.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- While there is a large push for closing the tech skills gap, hiring managers should look toward hiring people with soft communication skills as interpersonal skills are becoming rare, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said.
- LinkedIn data shows that the skill gap for interpersonal skills was three times the size than that of software engineering.
- Launching your cybersecurity career: 10 job roles to consider (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Forget hard skills, it's soft skills that are hard to comeby (ZDNet)
- Tech talent gaps are getting worse; here's how your business can avoid the challenge (TechRepublic)
- Tech jobs: How to recruit and retain the best IT workers (ZDNet)
- Lack of soft skills holding IT pros back from getting hired, promoted (TechRepublic)
Laurel Deppen is a student at Western Kentucky University.