Employers are looking for expanded and more diverse skill sets from new hires in the second half of 2021, with specialist tech roles topping recruitment priorities.
Hybrid skills, digital and data capabilities, change management and communication top the list of in-demand skills for UK workers in the second half of 2021, according to a new report.
A survey by recruitment agency Robert Half revealed that employers are increasingly seeking applicants that demonstrate a diverse set of skills spanning both soft and technical capabilities to meet their evolving business needs.
This is necessary to support the emergence of 'hybrid' workforces that split their time between working at home and in the office, which the report found was now viewed "as a permanent way of working by many employers and workers alike."
At the same time, chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) are looking to meet the increased demand for specialist technology and digital skills across different business sectors.
The five most important technology roles CIOs and CTOs are looking to fill in the second half of 2021 are cloud engineers, front-end developers, business transformation specialists, database administrators, and business intelligence specialists, the report found.
UK businesses are relying heavily on technology for competitive advantage and as a means of driving the business forward, the report found, particularly with more employees working from home. This has prompted many IT leaders to reassess their tech spending for the next 12 months.
SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
In early 2021, nearly one in three (30%) employers said they were looking to technology and digital as a means of business growth for the year. Robert Half's new data found that 26% of survey respondents were searching for digital or data skills in new hires to support this.
Over a quarter of businesses (26%) are specifically hiring for this hybrid skillset so they can continue to support business digitization. Digital or data management (26%), change management (26%) and communication (25%) are also showing strong signs of demand from UK employers, the report found.
For employees, reskilling and upskilling was the biggest concern for nearly one in four (23%) responders for the remainder of 2021. Robert Half found that 51% of workers hope to improve their digital skills this year, and want hands-on training from management (43%) as well as mentorship schemes (31%).
SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Employees also expressed a desire for planning and organization (22%) and communication skills (24%), seen as being important for skilfully navigating the hybrid work environment .
Employers' priorities appear to mostly align with employees: Robert Half found that businesses plan to focus on remote/hybrid work practices during the second half of 2021, including developing a more outcomes- and impact-based team culture; helping employees improve their home-working environment; employee integration; and updating return-to-office guidance.
"The business climate continues to remain mixed as we hit the mid-way mark of 2021. Despite this, employers have gained new confidence in their ability to exploit pandemic-driven business expansion opportunities, and it remains the primary influence on current confidence levels," the report said.
"The future of work is built on a unique blend of soft skills and technical knowledge."
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