Digital Skills Gap
Do you have Forbes' top 5 human skills?
15 September 2023 • 5 min read
Forbes published its annual Digital Skills Gap report this week, and despite an overwhelming focus on the demand for AI capabilities, the report pushed the continuing need for soft skills; the timeless skills that transcend the latest technology. Forbes call them soft - we prefer “human”. Soft suggests these skills are easier to ignore, less important than their “hard” technical counterparts. In reality, without problem-solving, collaboration, or a willingness to learn, no business will succeed in harnessing AI.
Linkedin’s Global Talent Trends report also found that 92% of hiring managers see human skills as equal to or more important than technical skills. And yet, they’re still regularly overlooked, and the rarest to find on candidate applications, say our recruitment team. We get it, they’re hard to measure and even harder to turn into tangible proof points. But with the right analysis of your experience, it’s likely you’ve already got them - or can find a new opportunity to exercise them.
Here, we’re breaking down Forbes’ most in-demand human skills for 2023, how to get the right experience to flex those skills, and how best to communicate them if you’re looking to progress or land a new role this year.
Forbes' Top 5 human skills
Problem-solving and analytical thinking
Do you have examples of times you’ve worked on or contributed to a new workflow strategy, analysing what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past, or what competitors are doing? Have you analysed key user feedback or problems and made an effort to build these into your solutions? Choose one or two examples and focus in on how your personal involvement drove a successful outcome.
Do you have examples of times you’ve navigated complex problems and helped work towards a positive outcome? That could be technical troubleshooting - and the route you took diagnose and solve the problem. Or it could be identifying a core client issue and working on options to solve that problem and deliver a better outcome.
Adaptability and willingness to learn
This is a great opportunity to flex your upskilling - be that through formal courses (share those certifications if you have them!) or enthusiastically taking on a new challenge on a recent project. Maybe you were an early adopter of a new technology in your team, or maybe you managed a few projects at the same time, showing you can context switch and adapt quickly.
Teamwork and collaboration
Describe a project where you worked with colleagues from different departments or teams. Highlight your role in coordinating work and sharing expertise to achieve project goals. In the world of hybrid working, it’s also great to communicate how well you’ve collaborated remotely, and the tools you’ve used to make this happen. If you’re client facing, focus on the work you’ve carried out with client teams, and how you brought their requirements to life.
Think of times when your great communication has helped others understand challenges, made decision-making easier, or kept stakeholders informed through complex projects. If you have it, you could also detail your experience in delivering presentations to different audiences, or mention any written materials you’ve taken the lead on - like project documentation or blogs!
Leadership and mentoring
OK, so we don’t all have formal leadership experience (yet!) but there are lots of ways you can show leadership skills. Can you think of a time you’ve upskilled others, perhaps helped someone get to grips with a new program? Have you provided career advice for someone looking to take a similar path to you? Think about any talks you’ve delivered or meetings you’ve chaired (no matter how small the audience!). These would be great things to talk about in an interview or promotion pitch.
How do you best share these skills in a self-promotion pitch?
It can be pretty hard to talk about yourself, and it can be pretty easy to go off on unnecessary tangents. So exercise that great communication with the help of the STAR technique. Structure your examples around the Situation you found yourself in, what the Task was, what Action you took, and the end Result. It’s easy to follow and keeps things concise - both for you telling the story and for those listening, and it’s a great human skill to nurture! The National Careers Service have some great STAR method examples.
How does AND help build human skills?
Human skills are so often overlooked because they’re really hard to teach. Whilst technical skills can be picked up in structured courses, the human ones are more often nurtured through experience and opportunity. AND Digital aims to provide those experiences and opportunities in a number of ways:
Upskilling & Academy
Did you know that 58% of knowledge workers have never received digital upskilling from their employer? We’re on a mission to close the skills gap globally, but that starts from within. Every ANDi gets 13 paid upskilling days per year (along with a learning and development budget) to take courses, attend conferences, and learn and practise new skills. ANDis have free access to learning platforms like Linkedin Learning, O’Reilly and our extensive Academy syllabus, where they can access a range of human skills courses; like Powerful Presenting, Fearless Feedback and How to Be Assertive. Even better, our Academy courses are also open to clients!
Luna, our in-house business management platform, not only manages invoicing, expenses and holiday requests - it helps ANDis build their career plans. Facilitating structured 360 feedback within teams, as well as the opportunity to self-reflect on areas for development, Luna encourages ANDis to think about their short term (3 month) goals, longer term (1-3 years) goals, and lay out a full 5 year plan. That can then be broken down into key steps to get to those goals. It's a great lesson in self-awareness and growth mindset, and helps pinpoint those key areas for technical and behavioural upskilling.
Career Scrum Teams and Mentorship Programmes
Career Scrum Teams is our Agile inspired approach to career development, which provides a tailored coaching approach to help ANDis realise their potential and strive for full career satisfaction. ANDis have their own personal scrum team of leaders and mentors, from across different disciplines, to help them narrow in on and work towards their big career goals - in sprints.
The technical skills digital businesses look for will continually evolve; last year there was a greater focus on Cloud and Data, this year the drive is for Artificial Intelligence. But the human skills we need to innovate, work effectively as teams and solve complex problems will remain the same - no matter the industry.