HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

3 in 5 employers favour hard skills over soft skills: survey

They are more inclined to hire candidates fluent in project management, statistical analysis and data mining.

The talent-short market in Singapore is driving businesses to favour technical know-how over emotional aptitude in candidates, according to Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019.

The report, which highlights salary and recruiting trends based on survey responses from Hays Asia operating markets Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, found that over three in five or 65% of employers are more inclined to hire candidates with hard skills over soft skills. This reveals that project management (56%), statistical analysis and data mining (47%) and computer skills (37%) were the top teachable or technical skills in demand, in that order.

Also read: Local technology and banking hiring to persist in 2019

By contrast, employers in Singapore are generally least interested in skills such as web architecture and development framework (9%), UX or UI design (9%) and programming languages (11%).

Problem solving (81%), team work (80%), and verbal communication (74%) were found to be the soft skills most coveted by Singapore companies. On the other hand, the psychological and emotional competencies that are at the bottom of employers’ priority lists were negotiation abilities (25%), time management (45%) and flexibility (47%).

“As industries and roles evolve and expand, the skills in demand are ever-changing. Businesses in Singapore have been redefining the technical competencies required to grow and prosper,” Grant Torrens, regional director of Hays Singapore, commented in a statement. With that in mind, candidates can benefit from staying abreast of industry developments and constantly upskill, or even reskill if needed, to maintain their competitiveness and therefore leverage in the employment market.

Also read: Only half of employers provide adequate digital training: report

Across Asia, three in five or 59% of employers deemed hard skills more desirable in candidates than soft skills. The hard skills favoured by employers Asia-wide include project management, statistical analysis and data mining, and foreign language fluency.

“As for employers, soft skills should continue to be a relevant and important aspect when considering a new hire, as these skills are surely needed to complement even the deepest of knowledge and widest breadths of experience in order for both individuals and businesses to succeed,” Torrens added.

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