IT teams seeking good communicators to drive digital transformation

Nearly three quarters (74%) of CIOs cite communication skills as a top requirement for leading digital transformation, according to new research1 from recruitment specialist Robert Half Technology UK.

•    74% of CIOs cite communication skills as a top requirement to lead digital transformation, ahead of technical knowledge (52%) 
•    Half of CIOs think demand will increase for candidates with good communication skills over the next three years, with a third (30%) recognising they will be more challenging to find 
•    Creating open lines of communication and engaging with affected staff are key to driving forward business transformation 

London, 17 May 2019 – Nearly three quarters (74%) of CIOs cite communication skills as a top requirement for leading digital transformation, according to new research1 from recruitment specialist Robert Half Technology UK. The study, which interviewed senior IT decision makers across UK firms, found that communication skills were the most highly valued skill for driving digital change, ahead of technical knowledge, cited by 48% of CIOs.

Against this backdrop, the demand for candidates with soft skills is likely to increase. Half (50%) of CIOs think the demand for candidates who are good communicators will increase over the next three years, with a third (30%) recognising that they will be harder to find, as the ‘war for talent’ intensifies.

As businesses race to implement new technology, soft skills are becoming vital for IT teams to drive business transformation with internal audiences. According to CIOs, methods such as creating open lines of communication and engaging with affected staff were most important, cited by 49% and 45% of CIOs respectively, ahead of more tangible initiatives such as training sessions (43%) and employee incentives (39%). 

In order to remain competitive, scalable and efficient, businesses must adapt their recruitment processes to ensure they are effective in assessing a candidate’s soft skills, as well as their technical abilities and qualifications. 

Steve Sully, Associate Director, Robert Half Technology UK commented: “Soft skills were once overlooked and undervalued but as technology teams start to play a fundamental role in business, employers are increasingly recognising their importance for effective change management and collaboration. The need to hire technology candidates with both technical and softer attributes, such as communication, flexibility and adaptability is a fine balance required to adjust in this constant state of digital change. 

“Finding candidates with the necessary skill set to lead and motivate a team, partner with other departments, support the adoption of technological change or plan for the future is a daunting and difficult task for many employers.  A candidate’s soft skills should be properly assessed at the beginning of the recruitment process, so cultural fit can be reviewed alongside their broader skillset and knowledge.”

Tips for assessing soft skills:
•    Make full use of the references your candidate has given you and contact them. Be sure to ask specific questions about how the candidate treated other members of staff, how they conducted themselves in stressful situations and the maturity of their emotional responses.
•    In the interview, ask behavioural or situational questions. These questions are open-ended and allow candidates to talk about their individual experiences in their own way, allowing the hiring manager to assess their communication abilities.
•    Continue to assess a candidate’s soft skills even once they have started their new role, for example during onboarding and training to spot any areas for improvement.

– ENDS –

Notes to editors
1 The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in January 2019 by an independent research firm among 700 senior decision-makers in businesses in the UK. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace.
 

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2017). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.