Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Soft Skills’ More in Demand for Employers as AI Use Increases

Many companies report critical skills shortages and are looking for ways to identify candidates with more interpersonal skills for a changing AI-driven world and, ironically, they are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to find people.

91% of employers say soft skills are now more important than they were five years ago, an increase from 74% in 2022, according to a global study by pre-employment testing company TestGorilla titled ‘The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023’.

Traditionally, search and selection has been done through resume submissions followed by an interview. But online platforms are proving to be more effective in identifying people with skills such as communication, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Commenting on the changing employment market, TestGorilla CEO and co-founder Wouter Durville, said: “In the era of Artificial Intelligence, employers now value soft skills more than ever, as these are qualities that cannot be easily replicated by technology.

“Hiring for soft skills is a high priority, alongside identifying expertise in implementing AI into day-to-day work processes. Companies must adapt to hiring for these skills if they are to remain competitive in an automated world. Skills-based hiring, where candidates are screened based on their aptitude to perform the job by going through a series of skills-based tests or exercises, is the most effective way to find them.”

This approach enables employers to accurately test for both hard and soft skills, placing businesses into a better-suited position to recruit and onboard talented employees.

Employers still using resumes report the following challenges: Accuracy (51%), difficulty in ranking applicants (43%), and problems with unconscious bias - all contributing to the overall picture that resumes are now outdated as a primary selection method.

Employer benefits for businesses using skills-based hiring reported in the global study include:

  • 88% report a reduction in mis-hires
  • 74% reduced cost to hire
  • 82% said time to hire was less
  • 89% experience higher levels of staff retention.

Indeed, staff hired for their skills experience less bias and are more likely to be working in diverse teams. 84% of the firms polled experienced a positive impact on workplace diversity after adopting skills-based hiring.

As business need for AI skills increases, a rise in jobs that require new skills can be expected. Some of these may not require traditional qualifications, which could lead to greater reliance on skills-based hiring.

Commenting on the findings, Wouter Durville says: “This is a seismic shift considering resume screening has been almost universally relied on for decades. Skills-based hiring has been around for a fraction of the time that resumes have. We are seeing a tipping point which could mark the death of the resume as a way to get work in the next two to three years.

“While qualifications and experience are still valid, we are seeing that a candidate’s ability to be able to do the job they are applying for is much more easily gauged by assessing their skills.

“This approach to recruitment is also, crucially, levelling the playing field when it comes to diversity – skills-based hiring by definition does not introduce bias. With increasing remote work opportunities, skills-based hiring is attracting talent from all over the world into roles that would otherwise have been closed off using the old resume selection route.”