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In today’s world of ever increasing and changing technology, people often wonder what skill sets they will need to be successful in today’s job market. Of course, that begs the question: Are we talking about hard skills or soft skills? In 2018, and 2019, both types of skills will be necessary, so let’s take a look at both types.

Hard skills

If you were to survey several articles, you would find technical skills listed as being the most in-demand. In one large LinkedIn survey, the Top 10 hard skills desired include:

  • Cloud and distributed computing
  • Statistical analysis and data mining
  • Middleware and integration software
  • Web architecture and development frameworks
  • User interface design
  • Software revision control systems
  • Data presentation
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Mobile development
  • Network and information security

In her Forbes article, Dr. Anna Powers writes that the most desired skill sets are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) areas, with the top three being proficiency in social media, data analysis and artificial intelligence.

Often people’s academic degrees or previous work experiences will help you determine if they have the skills needed. Additionally, you can test for these skills using eSkill’s subject-based tests. Some new hires may not have the work experience desired but can demonstrate their knowledge of the hard skills needed to be successful on the job.

Learn more about subject-based eSkill Tests

Soft skills

As important as hard skills, if not more important, are the soft skills. These skills can be applied in almost all categories of jobs, and, in many cases, are more critical to an employee’s success than the hard skills. Soft skills are the “people” skills that we often assume a candidate possesses, only to be sadly disappointed once we discover they do not. Soft skills are necessary for sales jobs, customer service jobs, jobs requiring teamwork, and, of course, for leadership positions such as supervisors or managers.

Paul Petrone, Editor of LinkedIn Learning, writes, “57 percent of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills” to be successful in today’s business environment. These soft skills include the following:


Being a leader does not necessarily mean you are on the path to becoming the CEO (though it might). You can display leadership in an everyday role in many ways, such as working on a team or just inspiring others to put their best effort forward. Consultant and writer Lolly Daskal says that leadership is made up of five different skills:

  1. The skill of self-awareness
  2. The skill of business acumen
  3. The skill of relationship building
  4. The ability to create an inspired culture
  5. The skill of agility and adaptability

How can you determine whether an individual possesses these skills? Naturally, skills testing can help you figure this out.


What job doesn’t require the ability to communicate effectively? Whether in spoken communication or written communication, practically every employee must be able to share the results of their work. Influencing, plus giving and receiving critical feedback, are necessary soft skills for leaders. In addition, storytelling has become a critical skill. Those who can convey information effectively through a good story stand out.


Nearly everyone today functions as part of a team in the workplace. Effective collaboration has been shown to increase productivity and profitability, and new technologies have increase collaboration opportunities: Applications, such as Dropbox, Slack, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Google Apps make it easier for workers, teams and, even remote workers to collaborate on projects. Most employers will want to know how effectively and flexibly an applicant can collaborate.

Time management

One skill that has always been in demand, and always will be, is time management. In a world where artificial intelligence and robots can work and produce 24/7, the pressure is on for humans to be productive has increased. The demand to complete work and projects on time is a constant pressure. Speed of service is critical in many industries and often makes the difference between success and failure.

Using testing to determine skill levels

Just as with hard skills, soft skills can be tested. eSkill has the ability to help employers determine whether candidates for jobs or promotion have the soft skills necessary for them to be effective in their positions. Get in touch for a free trial.


  • Mariah says:

    The list with the top 10 hard skills is great. thank you a lot for sharing.

  • Christina says:

    I have no idea how to assess the skill of relationship building. You can only know if a person knows how to build relationships after you hire him/her.

  • Kasandra says:

    I think time management is really important. Prioritization and the power to delegate can really help to reach the organizational goals.

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