Nearly 9 out of 10 employers prefer soft skills over qualifications
Tricia Ang | 15 April 2021
According to a new study by professional network LinkedIn, nearly 9 out of 10 companies in the Philippines prefer soft skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, and the ability to work in a team over qualifications when recruiting employees, citing that these are required to pave the way for economic recovery and development.
More businesses in the Philippines would tend to recruit applicants with skills over qualifications such as education or experience, according to the first edition of the Future Talent report by the world’s largest professional network. According to the study, skills would soon become the new currency for employees in the future workplace.
The report seeks to determine how the future of work has changed. The study looks at how HR teams are changing their roles in organizations, how companies prepare, recruit, grow, and engage their talent, and how employer branding can help companies attract and retain top talent.
In addition to hiring externally, companies in the Philippines were willing to tap into using existing employees to fill open positions. Many businesses now have a dedicated training program to assist their employees in learning new skills. Another observation is that during the pandemic, HR played a more prominent role, such as taking the lead in employee training. As we move into the post-COVID-19 era, HR will be at the forefront of company strategy.
Last year, LinkedIn saw skills rise to the front—workers were starting to acquire new skills, and organizations began to practice skills-based hiring.
“This trend is expected to continue. The report found that more companies in the Philippines prefer to hire candidates with technical skills (38%) and transferable skills (28%) over traditional qualifiers like education (12%) and minimum years of experience (16%). 3 in 5 companies are open to hiring employees from another industry if they match the job requirements,” LinkedIn said.
As organizations look beyond assessing a candidate solely based on traditional qualifiers and turn their focus towards skills, they can plug vital gaps while reaping the rewards of a more diverse and adaptable workforce.
External recruiting is not the only way to get in on employees with skills in demand. According to the study, businesses are becoming more receptive to using internal talent to fill open positions. Nearly nine out of ten businesses in the Philippines are likely to recruit internally because they can benefit from current workers’ insider knowledge (65%), provide a sense of progress to employees (65%), and inspire loyalty (45%).
Companies must, however, provide training programs to assist staff in obtaining the relevant skills. Problem-solving, adaptability, and the ability to work in a team are three soft skills that companies in the Philippines search for in particular when recruiting internally.
Feon Ang, Vice President, Talent and Learning Solutions, APAC, LinkedIn, said: “As a result of the pandemic, new roles have been created and existing ones have evolved. Hiring talent with the right skills set for these roles is very important to organizations. These days, it matters less that the talent has the traditional qualifications or industry experience. Going forward, we can expect to see a skills-based economy take shape, with skills becoming the new currency for workers in the future world of work. I encourage all individuals to adopt a growth mindset and keep learning to stay relevant.”
HR leaders are leveraging the power of data and insights to introduce a skills-based recruiting process. In the Philippines, more than 9 out of 10 businesses recognize the value of using data-driven insights to make hiring decisions. The top three uses of data are in identifying skills needed in the future (57%), getting information to measure employee performance (57%), and knowing the top technical skills required for a particular role (57%).
Companies may also use data to create practical employee engagement events. With 37% of companies in the Philippines reporting higher employee turnover as a result of COVID-19, businesses must step up their employee engagement efforts to keep workers motivated and connected.
Flexible working plans, according to the study, are the most successful practice for increasing employee engagement, which is particularly important now that hybrid and remote work are here to stay. In the Philippines, businesses strive for a 46 percent remote employee ratio and a 54 percent physical employee ratio.
Ang said: “With skills being an engine of growth now and into the future, HR and business leaders must be equipped with advanced tools like data analytics. These tools can help them identify both potential candidates who have those set of skills and internal hires who can be reskilled.”