Hybrid Skill Impact

Research from Robert Half demonstrates shift in skills required.

Robert Half has released additional data from its Demand for Skilled Talent report spotlighting the growth in employer demand for new ‘hybrid’ skills across the UK. Produced in association with Burning Glass Technologies, the latest research evidences a shift in skills demand amongst employers in response to the adoption of new technologies and economic shifts experienced during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With hybrid workforces (where some employees work remotely and others at the office) now seen as a permanent part of the employment landscape by 89 per cent of British employers recently surveyed by Robert Half, job advertisements are requesting more people-focused skills for technical roles and, conversely, more technical, and data-handling proficiencies for administrative and marketing job functions.

Based on an analysis of all online job postings here in the UK during the period of December 2019 through until November 2020, examples of these new hybrid skill sets are impacting technical roles include:


  • +52 per cent in system administrators required to satisfy customers
  • +51 per cent in software developers who are able to establish customer rapport
  • +42 per cent in web and multimedia developers who can provide customer follow-up

Finance & Accounting

  • +100 per cent in finance and insurance clerks with CRM abilities
  • +46 per cent in securities and finance dealers required to establish customer rapport
  • +25 per cent in management and organisational analysts to apply conceptual thinking

Conversely, for more traditionally ‘people-focused’ roles, there has been an even greater uptick in demand for technical skills, with examples including:

Office, HR and Secretarial

  • +82 per cent in demand for general office clerks with business process skills
  • +50 per cent in administrative and executive secretaries with business intelligence skills
  • +23 per cent in enquiry Clerks with database management capabilities

Marketing, Advertising and Communications

  • More than triple the demand (+208 per cent) for advertising and public relations managers with software configuration skills
  • Nearly double the demand (+90 per cent) for advertising and public relations managers with CSS skills
  • +71 per cent in sales and marketing managers who can apply information security policies

“Whilst always sought-after, many of the above-referenced skills have definitely seen an uptick in demand over recent months as companies swiftly adapted to remote work and adopted both new technologies and processes in response to COVID-19,” said Matt Weston, managing director of Robert Half UK. “Three of the top business priorities for the first half of 2021 amongst general managers we recently surveyed include talent management (44 per cent), identifying new opportunities for business growth (42 per cent) and investing in new technologies (41 per cent). This combination of talent, business growth, and new technologies is not only informing recovery strategies for many companies at this stage of the pandemic but is also directly translating into new-look job descriptions and evolving skill sets. As much as the ‘anywhere workforce’ is likely to be a permanent part of the employment landscape moving forward, so too is demand for these new hybrid skills.”

Weston went on to say that the skills employers need are not only evolving rapidly but also reshaping and combining in new and often unexpected ways. “Just a few years ago, no one would have thought advertising and marketing managers would need to configure software, or that software developers would need the skills to build rapport with customers,” adds Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies. “But advancing technology is creating both new opportunities for workers and new challenges for employers trying to fill roles.”

For employers wanting to develop a hybrid skills-focused team culture, Robert Half suggests formulating a five-step plan, inclusive of evaluating business goals and priorities, conducting a skills and job function audit and building a flexible staffing plan – all informed by the concept of ‘lifelong learning’.

“From a skills evolution and demand perspective, COVID-19 can be seen as the ultimate disruptor and accelerator,” says Weston. “With one recent report estimating that 21 million UK workers will need basic digital skills and 14 million enhanced interpersonal and advanced communications skills by 2030, the time to take constructive steps in developing hybrid skills is now – particularly for those companies eager to the more resilient, adaptable, and agile workforces needed for their pandemic recovery efforts.”

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