Is Tech Getting Too Soft?

Posted on March 25, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Job Market Trends, Manufacturing, Personal Branding |

soft skillsIn my last couple of posts, I have been discussing the results of a survey conducted by the LMA Consulting Group and APICS Inland Empire, in which they surveyed employers in the manufacturing and logistics arenas. First I looked at the rise in employee retention efforts due to a skills gap shortage. Then I discussed the professional/technical skills that are reported as most lacking by these employers.

Now, I’d like to look at the soft skills these companies want from their talent.

Tech and soft skills is another topic I have been visiting (and revisiting) over the last several months as I read career trend after career trend that state that soft skills combined with tech skills is in high demand by today’s employers. (For some of my posts, check out “The Softer Side of Tech” and “The Road to Promotion: Culture, Culture, Culture“.)

Here are the soft skills listed in highest demand:

  • Presentation and Communication Skills
  • Writing Skills (check out an earlier post on this subject: “Why Our Writing Skills Need an Upgrade“)
  • Problem-Solving
  • Collaboration & Teamwork
  • Management Skills

When you combine this list with the professional/technical skills list, you realize it’s a pretty tall order.

They’re looking for an extroverted introvert who thinks like a strategic business partner while architecting the latest systems solution in the latest technologies.

[And, oh, it would be nice if you didn’t care about money too much…they’d prefer you to be more concerned with “culture,” please.]

Hmm. No wonder there’s a talent shortage…they’re looking for 1 in a billion! 🙂

It does make you wonder whether tech hasn’t gone a little too soft.

Somewhere along the way we’ve romanticized the idea of the global workplace filled with TV commercial-like versions of “IBMers” all brilliant, all innovative, all articulate, all enthralled with brand building, all trying to save the planet.

And now companies are frustrated that this image isn’t reality. So they are going to do more molding (aka “mentoring”) and image building (aka “employees as brand ambassadors”) and cultural awareness training (aka “onboarding”) all while continuing to pay low, missing the boat on retention, and producing odd mantras about culture and leadership. None of which, mind you, gets you any closer to fulfilling your skills shortage gap…

But I digress…

The bottom line is that for the professional who can succeed in presenting just enough tech skills combined with the right soft skills, opportunity is certainly there.

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