Employers are Demanding Hard Skills Over Soft Skills, and Millennials Have the Power to Close That Gap!

One of the biggest challenges companies are facing is the skills gap. While the job market still has not fully recovered, there are millions of jobs that are not being filled.

The skills gap is bad for employers, but it is especially bad for millennials, who are graduating college without jobs. Those who focused on non-technical majors and courses are struggling to find work while companies looking to hire technical talent are under pressure to deliver value with fewer resources. In addition, the lucky few who have jobs are actually doing multiple jobs at once because of the country’s skills gap.

The good news is that the millennial generation – as it becomes the largest generation in the workforce in 2015 [By 2015, 75 percent of the world’s employees will be the Millennial Generation or Gen Y ~ Deloitte’s third annual Millennial Survey]has the power to help close this gap. 

Photo Credit: Gigaom

Photo Credit: Gigaom

Since employers are so keen on hiring subject-matter experts, it is no surprise that hard skills are important in their selection criteria for jobs. A new study commissioned by Millenial Branding in partnership with Elance-oDesk.com found that in order to fill their job openings, HR managers are prioritizing hard skills. Fifty-five percent of HR managers said they focus more on hard skills when hiring, versus only 21 percent who focus more on personality. Forty-five percent of the HR managers said they expect to become even more skills-focused in 10 years (versus only 11 percent who expect to become more personality-focused).

This study reveals changes in how we work, generational differences, and the critical role millennials play for businesses as we move forward. Among findings, Millennials offer unique skills - such as fresh ideas, adaptability and tech-savvy - that businesses need in order to innovate and remain competitive. Although clear contrasts exist between the prior generation and millennials, these are to be expected as millennials reinvent what it means to be successful in a rapidly changing, technology-driven world.

For the Millennials out there, here are a few tips on how you can acquire these coveted hard skills:

Hard skills can be developed in several ways. First, you can take various types of classes in order to learn them. For instance, take a class at a local college, a free class online at Coursera.com, or a class taught by an expert at Skillshare.com. Choose a class based on how you learn the best. If you are better in a small classroom than a virtual environment without a teacher, then choose that.

Another good way to gain hard skills is by doing an Internship or Live Project with someone who has experience in your chosen field. Do you best to understand & implement each & everything your mentor says. This way you learn from the best. This hands-on experience works well for many people and that connection can open doors to new opportunities later.

Another way to get hard skills is by teaching yourself. One way to do this is by taking on freelance projects in order to practice your skills and have tangible results that you can leverage into new opportunities. There are also hundreds of free tutorial websites online which can teach you hard skills that employers are looking to hire for. You might have a friend that can tutor you as well, which is another free alternative to paying for courses.

Remember, it is on you, and only you can make that type of investment in yourself – but it is worth it because you will become more valuable and relevant in your industry as a result.

Finally, an awesome Infographic that spells out differences between your Hard Skills & Soft Skills, and How & Where in the Recruitment process will you need them! (Download the PDF for a better view)