Hard skill development needs to happen, even in companies that mainly rely on soft skills. That’s because we all use technology and various technical tools to some degree. Besides the learning challenges of hard skill development, it’s also up to HR to decide which skills require L&D programs. Here are the top four hard skills that are in demand for 2023.
The More Things Change…
…The more they stay the same. What’s remarkable about the past decade or so is the growing dominance of soft skills. This Forbes article explains that more than 60% of professionals believe that soft skills are at least as important as hard skills. So HR departments across the world are providing more soft skills development courses than ever before.
But what’s still true today is that skill requirements change, and HR should ensure that employees are on par with the most essential ones. Unless the bots take over, we’ll always need hard skills, so staying on top of proficiency levels for technical-type abilities must remain part of every L&D initiative.
Hard Skills to Watch and Learn
One of the top sources for tracking the growth in demand for certain skills is the World Economic Forum. In their Future of Jobs Report is a comprehensive list of what skills are popular now, and which will be in three years from now. One of the interesting facts about the list is that the first hard skill appears in 6th place. Told you that soft skills were all the rage!
1. Technological Literacy
Technological literacy describes a person’s ability to leverage, at some fundamental level, a range of technology products and services. Someone who is technologically literate can:
- Use essential technologies
- Understand how to access, personalize, and troubleshoot them
- Choose between different types to best suit their needs
An example of someone who is not technologically literate is a person who can view a banking application but does not know how to find important information or what to do when it crashes.
Included in the category of basic workplace technologies are:
- Personal computers
- Administrative software
- Smart phones
- Media sites
- Internet search engines
- Communication methods such as email and messaging apps
In the workplace, technological literacy is important because it allows employees to interact with company systems and perform essential job functions.
2. Quality Control
Quality control (QC) personnel often have specialties. For example, QC for a microchip company is very different from that for a garment factory. Still, there are a few skills that all QC staffers have in common.
The first is an ability to understand complex technical documents. There are often many steps in quality control. It’s understandable for someone new to the position to go slowly as they learn the details. But after a while they must be able to work at a minimum speed so as to not become a bottleneck in the process.
The second is computer skill. QC standards are often presented through a computer. But it’s for certain that all reporting and notification occurs that way.
Finally, QC methods require a measurement device. This could be anything from a digital camera to a digital caliper. Proper and consistent use of these tools is critical.
3. Systems Thinking
“Systems thinking” is a way of analyzing something so as to see it as being made up of interrelated parts. A person with systems thinking abilities can recognize that, if a problem arises in one place, it might be connected to another function of the system.
Systems thinking attempts to find the right mix of “reinforcing” and “balance”. The act of reinforcing makes a certain part of a system more prominent. On the other hand, balance keeps everything in proportion to ensure efficiency.
An example of systems thinking is team management. Let’s say a team can’t meet deadlines, so the manager adds employees (reinforcing). With proper systems thinking, the team will have enough people to meet deadlines but not so many as to cost too much or waste resources (balancing).
4. AI and Big Data
In 2023, AI and Big Data will rank in the 15th spot on the WEF’s skill list. But in 2027, it’s rated as the third most important skill, including soft skills, and it has the highest demand growth rate. Better start working on this one now!
AI and Big Data skills are intertwined and mostly related to rendering data and programs in a way that is useful for businesses. These skills include coding and Big Data analytics. For the average employee, the use of these technologies will usually involve application, i.e. putting them to work to serve some organizational purpose.
One HR-related example is workforce analytics. As a new technology, most companies are still figuring it out, and it often requires specialists. But in the future, workforce analytics will be a basic HR tool that every staff member must know how to use.
Growthspace for Your Skill Development Needs
Hard skills, soft skills, and everything in between – the Growthspace platform handles them all. Once you’ve decided on the kinds of training that your employees require, turn to Growthspace to source experts, automate the course setup, and enable an intuitive evaluation process both for the learning and the instructors. As the world’s best talent development platform, we’ve got your L&D needs covered.