Industry News Skills Development

Soft skills, flexible working and pay transparency are workplace trends to embrace in 2019, according to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report

The report surveyed over 5,100 global talent professionals and hiring leads in 35 countries, including almost 500 from the UK, providing insights into the changing behaviour of job seekers and the future of work.

  • Nine in 10 UK talent professionals prize soft skills as importantly as hard skills
  • 75% believe flexible working options are key to hiring the right candidates in the future
  • 50% admit that sharing salary ranges and diversity statistics with employees and candidates is very important to the future of recruiting

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, today publishes its 2019 Global Talent Trendsreport. It reveals the top trends, challenges and solutions shaping today’s relationship between employers and employees.

The report surveyed over 5,100 global talent professionals and hiring leads in 35 countries, including almost 500 from the UK, providing insights into the changing behaviour of job seekers and the future of work. The trends dominating this year’s report are: the importance of offering flexible working opportunities to candidates; the positive impact of transparency – particularly in relation to pay; and the prioritisation of soft skills in businesses.

Getting serious about soft skills

This year’s report reveals that while hard skills with a shrinking shelf-life (such as programming language), still matter, employers are putting greater emphasis on soft skills to identify the strongest candidates. 92% of UK talent professionals said that soft skills are as important or more important than hard skills when hiring talent, while 82% claimed that soft skills are more important to their company’s success than before.

Candidates’ ability to bring out the best in others and work under pressure are particularly sought after. Creativity, persuasion, adaptability, collaboration and time management are listed as the most in-demand soft skills UK companies need, but are the hardest to find according to LinkedIn data. Professionals should be placing particular emphasis on demonstrating their soft skills at interview stage, as 80% of UK recruiters ask specific behaviour-related questions during interviews, and more than half (58%) look out for body language and non-verbal cues.

Flexible working: no longer a perk, a necessity

Businesses appear to be waking up to demand from employees and candidates to work more flexibly – in different locations and at different times. 75% of UK hiring professionals say that offering flexible working will be ‘very or extremely important’ in the future, with 84% recognising it helps employees have better work/life balance and satisfaction, and 72% agreeing it makes their workforce happier.

But putting flexible working into practice isn’t proving straightforward; while over half (57%) of UK employers still allow flexible working some of the time, less than a quarter (23%) only do so in certain circumstances. Significant numbers of recruiters and businesses still harbour concerns that the practice can negatively affect team bonding (59%), collaboration (40%) and the ability to oversee work effectively (38%).

Transparency: it’s paying off

50% of UK hiring professionals say that sharing salary ranges and diversity statistics with both employees and candidates will be ‘very important’ in the future. The overwhelming majority of UK talent professionals see pay transparency as a good thing: 77% think it makes the hiring process more streamlined, and 72% believe it makes salaries fairer.

A third (32%) admit that increasing transparency on salary has already impacted their hiring strategy, with 43% sharing salary ranges either internally or externally, and 37% making diversity figures available. However, barriers still exist to becoming more transparent. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) believe it could create conflict among current employees, while 44% say that it is not common practice and 38% believe it limits their ability to successfully negotiate salaries.

Jon Addison, Head of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn UK, commented: “The pace of change in the talent market is unprecedented. The old school employer-employee power dynamic is evolving to a more transparent, trusting and reciprocal relationship. Talent professionals and hiring managers are already responding to these influences and rethinking their approach to hiring.

“In a near-full employment environment in which competition for talent is fierce, being transparent, flexible and open makes businesses more attractive to candidates, and the most progressive firms I’m working with are already doing this.”

You can download the full 2019 Global Recruiting Trends report here, and read the blog post on the findings here.