Recruiters Seeking out more People Skills

Future IT recruitment drives could be seeking professionals with more than just good technology skills.

New recruits will be expected to have good interpersonal skills and other qualities. Peter Wood, member of ISACA, a membership body that provides tools for enterprises using information systems, noted that there has been a shift in what IT employers want. “Historically people have been comfortable with siloed security skills, whether in deliverables or audit, and siloed IT skills in networking or Windows, [for example],” he explained. “Increasingly, as we see a change in the landscape with the way that IT is implemented with consumerisation, personal devices and social networking, boundaries are genuinely being eroded now.” Mr Wood noted that within the IT industry, there is more focus on people skills and there is greater sensitivity and sympathy towards people’s working objectives. “We’re seeing an increase in requirements for people to be able to communicate clearly and intelligently, to be able to listen and interpret business cases as well as the technical solutions being delivered,” Mr. Wood noted, adding that the ability to present to people in more senior roles is also important, such as being able to “demonstrate whether a particular solution has merit and budget should be assigned to it or not”. Possessing such skills could be important when competing for sought-after IT jobs.

The most recent Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation shows a growth in demand for people skilled in IT and technology. REC Technology Chair Jeff Brooks recently said that Britain’s IT sector “will be absolutely crucial to achieving the government’s aim of re-balancing the economy towards the private sector”. From an employer perspective, Mr. Wood stressed that recruiters must embrace new technology as employees who apply for jobs are more familiar with IT devices. He said: “It isn’t a question of ‘can I do this?’ – it’s a question of ‘how will I do this? What’s my favorite platform, what’s my favorite social networking site?’ It’s an always-on mindset, and that doesn’t always align very well with the traditional policies of most employers.” He suggested that more forward-thinking employers “will be looking to adapt to that change and take advantage of that next generation of workers and make sure they have what they need in order to be productive”. Jobseekers could also find that they can add to their skills set on their CV by working on an internship. A survey by e-skills UK found that 97 per cent of students who have taken an e-skills internship believe they are more likely to find a job because of it, while 88 per cent said the emphasis on employability skills on the course has helped them prepare for a career.