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Making A Hard Case For Soft Skills
Nearly Half of CIOs See Communication and Problem Solving as Top Areas of Improvement for Tech Pros

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology is front and center within organizations, putting increased pressure on IT teams to constantly collaborate with colleagues and deliver revenue-generating solutions. This may be why chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed recently by staffing firm Robert Half Technology named communication skills (28 percent) and problem-solving abilities (21 percent) as the top areas where tech professionals could improve. Nearly the same percentage of executives cited those soft skills as most important for career advancement.

The Hard Case for Soft Skills

View an infographic of survey findings.

CIOs were asked, "In which one of the following areas would you say today's technology professionals could use the most improvement?" Their responses:

Communication skills, including written, interpersonal and face-to-face


Problem-solving skills


Work ethics, including accountability and reliability


Creative thinking




Business acumen


Don't know/no answer




CIOs were also asked, "Which one of the following skill sets or abilities is most important for technology professionals who want to advance their careers?" Their responses:

Problem-solving skills


Communication skills


Work ethics


Creative thinking




Business acumen


Don't know




"While technical skills open the door to new career opportunities for IT professionals, soft skills are essential for landing promotions and leadership roles," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Technology employees who seek advancement in today's business environment require a healthy mix of business acumen, interpersonal skills and technical ability."   

Reed added, "Unlike learning a new programming language or technology, soft skills are developed gradually and should be a priority throughout one's career."

Robert Half Technology offers three strategies for IT pros looking to sharpen their soft skills.

  1. Take a course. A workshop on written and verbal communication, collaboration or cross-functional thinking can help you acquire the necessary skills to be successful in and outside of today's workplace.
  2. Strike up conversation. Practice your social skills by engaging with coworkers throughout the organization and attending networking events in your free time. Make each project or communication within and outside of your organization a chance to exercise your social abilities.
  3. Seek a mentor. Choose someone in your network whose soft skills you admire and ask if that person would be willing to share ideas of how you may be able to achieve that same finesse.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,500 CIOs in 25 metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half Technology

Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers job search services at Read our award-winning technology blog at

Robert Half Technology
2884 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA  94025
Contact: Jenn Popovic
(650) 234-6033   

Robert Half

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SOURCE Robert Half Technology