Stay Ahead of the Curve: The Top Skills IT Employers Crave in Candidates in 2024

April 18, 2024

Demand for skilled IT employees is increasing in 2024, and unemployment levels are dropping. However, there’s still significant competition in the market among candidates in this industry. Faced with a complex economic landscape, employers are limited in the opportunities they can offer.

If you want to optimise your chances of getting the ideal role this year, you must demonstrate the skills employers are searching for.

It’s not just technical skills that recruiters prioritise today, but a range of soft skills too, from exceptional communication to resilience.

To ensure you can stay relevant in the current recruitment market, we’re exploring the most important hard and soft skills you should concentrate on as you invest in professional development for 2024 and beyond.

The Value of Hard Skills in 2024

Hard skills, or “technical skills”, are the quantifiable abilities that most recruiters will look at when reviewing your application for a IT role. They’re the competencies you need to accomplish the responsibilities and tasks of a specific job.

Hard skills result from the knowledge, training, and experience you’ve gained throughout your career.

Unfortunately, the hard skill requirements for many roles evolve all the time. Employees need to quickly adapt to new systems, tools, and processes that didn’t exist in the past.

The key to defining which hard skills you need to develop in your IT role is to examine industry trends and job descriptions in your sector.

Look at things like:

  • Relevant qualifications: Most employers in the IT landscape will look for evidence of your abilities through credentials, including certifications, degrees, demonstration of continuing professional development portfolios, or attending courses.
  • Proficiency with specific tools: All industries, including the IT sector, rely on specific tools like hardware and software. Ensure you know the resources your chosen business uses daily, such as accounting or design software.
  • Hard communication skills: Hard communication skills combine soft communication skills with new technologies and business goals. They can include skills in digital communication, copywriting, reading, writing, and speaking in a non-native language.
  • Transferable hard skills: Some hard skills are becoming relevant in all industries. Project management skills, proficiency with data analysis, and even management or leadership skills can be valuable to various IT roles.

Digital Literacy: The Non-Negotiable Skill Set

Perhaps the most significant hard skills employers require today align with “digital literacy”. As mentioned above, virtually every company in the IT industry is in the midst of a continuous digital transformation process.

Your ability to use and adapt to new technology will make you a valuable resource to your employer, even if you’re not pursuing a tech-related role. In fact, according to Forbes, around 93% of businesses are struggling to fill a “digital skills gap” today.

The specific digital skills you need will vary depending on your role, but they may include:

  • Data analysis: Understanding and interpreting data is valuable in any role, as it improves your problem-solving capabilities. Using tools like Excel and SQL to manage and visualise data will make you a highly appealing candidate.
  • Software proficiency: As noted above, most roles require employees to use specific software to accomplish tasks. This could include project management, calendaring, team collaboration apps, or specific design or data processing solutions.
  • I. proficiency: Artificial Intelligence is here to stay in all industries. Learning how to work with generative A.I. applications and bots or use intelligence to optimise and learn from data or business trends is a must in today’s world.
  • Cybersecurity: As digital threats continue escalating in the IT landscape, your ability to safely work with tools and data is paramount. Ensure you have a basic knowledge of protecting your online accounts and avoid scam and phishing attacks.
  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing has transformed how businesses operate, offering access to scalable resources over the internet. A fundamental knowledge of cloud computing best practices will help you to thrive in today’s digital world.

Soft Skills: The Unseen Backbone of Professionalism

Soft skills have always been essential to any role in the IT industry. In today’s digitally transforming world, however, they’re more crucial than ever. Fast Company reports that employers increasingly value “soft skills” over hard skills.

Soft skills refer to character traits and interpersonal skills that characterise a person’s ability to interact effectively with colleagues.

The combination of both soft and hard skills and knowledge results in an employee who has the potential to contribute and perform at a higher level than peers who are less skilled in one or both areas.

Some soft skills, such as collaborating well with colleagues, have always been essential. Others have grown more crucial in recent years.

In 2024, IT employers will be looking for staff members that show skills with:

  • Creative problem solving: The ability to look at an issue from various perspectives and develop creative resolutions.

    Every business faces problems, and your ability to respond effectively will make you a valuable asset.

  • Adaptability and resilience: As the world continues to evolve at a break-neck speed, resilience and adaptability are becoming more crucial.

    You’ll be a better employee if you can manage change effectively and stay strong in the face of stress and challenges.

  • Commitment to continuous learning: According to the World Economic Forum, 44% of employees’ core skills will change in the next five years. A commitment to lifelong learning and development ensures you can adapt to the changing landscape.
  • Motivation and self-management: The ability to act independently and maintain high motivation is crucial today.

    An ability to manage your own time and stay focused will make you more efficient in your role and inspire the teams around you.

  • Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence, defined as the ability to recognise and respond effectively to your emotions and the feelings of people around you, will help you contribute to a positive company culture.

Communication Skills: Your Career Amplifier

In essential IT soft skills, communicating effectively is perhaps the most valuable thing today’s employers are looking for. Excellent communication has always been necessary to ensure a thriving company culture.

However, in today’s hybrid and remote work world, fantastic communication skills are particularly crucial with changing collaboration strategies and evolving worldwide teams.

Strong communication skills are pivotal to working effectively with others, communicating with customers and clients, and thriving in your role.

Grammarly found that poor communication in the workplace can lead to a range of problems, from increased stress levels for 50% of workers to a 15% drop in productivity.

Assess your communication skills and focus on improving:

  • Verbal communication skills: The ability to speak clearly, using your knowledge of a situation, and emotional intelligence to your advantage.
  • Visual communication skills: Your ability to use graphs, charts, and maps when necessary to add context to a statement or guide other team members.
  • Digital communication skills: Leveraging various communication tools for online calls, messaging, and video conferencing sessions.

Frequently ask for feedback from your peers, managers, and supervisors to help you pinpoint potential gaps in your ability to communicate.

Integrating and Balancing Skill Sets

Success in today’s competitive IT landscape relies on your ability to cultivate and constantly improve a wide selection of hard, soft, and digital competencies. You need a plan for constant personal development and growth to improve your chances of getting the desired role and achieving your career goals.

Committing to constantly expanding your skills based on the trends you see in your industry and your employer’s core objectives will help elevate your professional brand and improve your chances of accessing new opportunities in the IT space.

By embracing a growth mindset and investing in lifelong learning, you’ll always be in a position where you stand out among other experienced candidates in the IT industry.

At Everpool Recruitment, we specialise in empowering IT professionals with personalised guidance to navigate the job market confidently. Our expert team is here to help you secure those fantastic opportunities. Don’t wait—reach out now and take the first step towards your dream career. Contact Us Today!

Call us at 0151 556 2090 or email us here

The (Easy) Way To Plan Your Office and Commercial Career Move

March 7, 2024

Career moves are more common than you might think. A quick search on Google shows that the average employee changes roles every 2-3 years.

Sometimes, you’ll make a career move to take advantage of better opportunities or a more progressive company culture. Other times, your career moves will be strategic and move you toward your long-term professional goals.

Proper planning is the key to success when making career moves.

While planning for a career move might sound daunting, there are ways to make the process easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide you can use.

Step 1: Self-Assessment and Goal Setting

The first step in planning a career move is knowing yourself, your priorities, and what you want to achieve in your Office and Commercial career. Before you make any decisions, take the time to conduct a thorough self-assessment, looking at your:

  • Strengths: The skills, knowledge, professional qualifications, and abilities contributing to your career success.
  • Development Areas: You may need to overcome knowledge gaps and issues to thrive in a new role or become more effective in your current position.
  • Values: What do you prioritise as a Office and Commercial employee, such as flexibility or a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?
  • Interests: What do you enjoy about your current role, and what particular interests do you want to pursue in your career?

Having completed your self-assessment, you can begin to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals) for your career. Think about what you need to accomplish in the short term, such as acquiring new skills, and what you want to aim for in the long term, such as moving into an executive-level position.

Step 2: Industry Trends and Future Outlook

With your goals in mind, you can begin exploring opportunities in the Office and Commercial landscape. Paying attention to the trends in your market makes sense for a few reasons.

First, it allows you to explore potential roles and opportunities you might not know about or have previously considered. Technological advancements and evolving market demands in many industries create new and exciting positions that may align with your skills.

Secondly, evaluating the market can give you an insight into what potential employers are looking for in your sector. For instance, in various industries, there’s an increasing demand for professionals with technical skills to address the growing “digital skills gap“.

You can stay up-to-date with current trends by reading industry journals and joining forums or professional associations.

Step 3: Skill Development and Continuous Learning

For many Office and Commercial professionals, a career move won’t just be an opportunity to move into a new business or earn a higher wage. It’s also about the possibility of taking on new responsibilities and positions that push you towards your long-term career goals.

To boost your chances of successfully applying for a new role and attracting the attention of employers, you may need to consider building your skillset and looking for new ways to demonstrate your value with courses and certifications. Critically, on-the-job opportunities to demonstrate and apply the enhanced skills that can give you a competitive edge.

Identify your current skill gaps, look at the “development areas” you noticed during your self-assessment, and then look for ways to improve.

Remember, once you’ve bridged your skill gaps, it’s worth investing in continuous education and improvement. Constant learning will pave the way for new opportunities and ensure you remain competitive in your Office and Commercial field.

Step 4: Networking and Professional Relationships

Networking is one of the most important things all Office and Commercial professionals should be investing in throughout their careers. Networking can be extremely valuable for career planning, helping you discover new industry trends and learn from innovative peers.

The right networking strategy will also help you build a broad support circle of mentors, industry contacts, and peers who can give you an edge when applying for new positions. In today’s world, there are countless ways to explore networking, from participating in professional organisation events to joining groups on LinkedIn.

Focus on building connections with people in your industry who can help you understand your industry and make progress towards your goals. Mentors can assist you in finding and applying for roles you might not be able to discover on your own.

Step 5: Gaining Experience and Building a Portfolio

Often, before you can take the next crucial step towards your career goals, you’ll need to gain experience. Many employers today, value a candidate’s experience as much or more than their educational accomplishments.

In some cases, you may be able to gain more experience in your existing Office and Commercial role. You could take on additional projects and responsibilities or shadow other team members. Alternatively, you may look for external ways to build experience, from participating in internships to volunteer work.

Strategically select opportunities that align with your career goals, help you fill your experience gaps, and develop a portfolio outlining your experiences.

Your portfolio can help showcase your achievements to potential employers alongside your CV or social media profiles.

Step 6: Personal Branding and Online Presence

Finally, a strong personal brand is essential whether you’re planning on moving to a new company or hoping for a promotion from your current Office and Commercial employer. Your brand is a culmination of all the various assets and resources you use to showcase your value to potential employers and clients.

This includes your portfolio (mentioned above), your CV, the cover letters you use in job applications, and even your social media presence.

Assess your online presence if you haven’t worked on your brand before. Ask yourself what employers will see when they search for you on LinkedIn or type your name into Google.

Think about how you can enhance your LinkedIn profile with evidence of your experience, or consider building a website to showcase your skills. It’s also worth updating your CV with the help of a professional recruitment team in the Office and Commercial space.

A recruitment team can give you insights into what employers are looking for and how you can enhance and improve your personal brand.

Plan Your Next Career Move the Right Way

While career moves are common in any industry, it’s easy to make the wrong decisions for your professional life without the right approach to planning. Taking a proactive approach and developing a strategy for success with the above steps is crucial.

Every time you choose to take another step in your career, use this guide as a reference to ensure you’re setting the right goals and taking valuable steps towards unlocking new opportunities in the Office and Commercial industry. Remember, a dedicated recruitment agency can also provide additional help and guidance specific to your career needs.

Ready to take the next step in your Office and Commercial career? Contact us for tailored guidance and support. Our dedicated team is here to help you navigate the intricate steps of career planning, ensuring your next move is a strategic leap towards success. Call us at 0151 556 2090 or email us here