PH employers prefer to hire talents with soft skills

Published April 15, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Nearly 9 in 10 companies in the Philippines prefer soft skills, including problem-solving, adaptability, and the ability to work in teams over qualifications in hiring people stating these are needed to pave the way for economic recovery and growth, a new research by a profession al network LinkedIin revealed.

The first edition of the Future Talent report by the world’s largest professional network showed that more companies in the Philippines would prefer to hire candidates with skills over qualifications such as education or experience. Skills are also expected to eventually become the new currency for workers in the future workplace, the report said.

The report seeks to determine how the future of work has changed. The study looks at the shifting role of Human Resource (HR) teams in organizations, how organizations plan, hire, develop and engage their talent, and how employer branding helps organizations attract and retain their best people.

On top of hiring externally, companies in the Philippines were willing to tap existing talent to fill open roles. To help their employees learn new skills, many companies now have a dedicated training program. Another finding is that HR played a more prominent role during the pandemic, such as taking the lead in training employees. 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 fore—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 hiring is not the only way to acquire skills in demand. The report found that companies are becoming more open to tapping their talent from within to fill available roles. Nearly 9 in 10 companies in the Philippines are willing to hire internally as they can leverage existing employees’ insider’s perspective (65%), provide a sense of progress to employees (65%), and encourage loyalty (45%). 

However, companies must provide training programs to aid employees in learning the relevant skills. Companies in the Philippines look for three soft skills, particularly when hiring internally, namely, problem-solving, adaptability, and ability to work in teams. 

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.”

To implement a hiring process based on skills, HR leaders are tapping on the power of data and insights. More than 9 in 10 companies in the Philippines understand the importance of using data-driven insights in their hiring decisions. The top areas of data usage 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%). 

Data can also help companies design practical employee engagement activities. With 37% of companies in the Philippines experiencing higher employee attrition due to COVID-19, companies have to double down on employee engagement efforts to help employees stay inspired and connected. 

According to the report, flexible working plans are the most effective activity in boosting engagement level, and this is especially important with hybrid and remote work here to stay. On average, companies in the Philippines aim for a mix of 46 percent remote employees and 54 percent physical employees.

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.”