Hong Kong IT Leaders See Soft Skills More Important

Which comes first when hiring IT talents-- hard technology knowledge or soft skills?

A Robert Half independent survey saw 81% of Hong Kong CIOs choosing the latter. But in reality, almost half of Hong Kong IT employers still rank experience and technical skills higher when recruiting.

New hires' experience and technical skills were the most important considerations. Almost half of CIOs (49%) cited these as the most influential factors when hiring.

But other factors are becoming as influential as IT talent becomes scarce. More than one in three (36%) refer to soft skills and cultural fit as vital. Candidate potential (29%) is also another consideration.

“Hiring managers’ expectations in today’s market are high. They are generally looking for top IT candidates who do not only possess all the technical requirements but who also have well-developed soft skills as well as fit in well with the company and team. However, as Hong Kong is battling an ongoing war for IT talent, we often advise business leaders to set priorities,” said Melissa Lau, associate director at Robert Half Hong Kong.

The survey also noted that the value of training is increasing, with many viewing upskilling as a contributor to hiring success. The survey showed that 31% of CIOs believed external training could turn new hires that lack the technical knowledge but show potential, into successful ones. Twenty-five percent found internal training similarly essential.

“Having the required technical skills and experience is a strong indicator of top talent for IT employers. However, businesses might potentially miss out on a top candidate if they overlook critical attributes such as soft skills and cultural fit. Disregarding candidates who lack certain non-critical technical skills that can easily be remedied through professional development will only serve to prolong the skills shortage currently crippling Hong Kong’s IT sector,” Lau added.

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in June 2018 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CIOs/CTOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.