Cartoon showing a worker standing on a ladder throwing books and a rocket ship and other skills-related icons into a large head with its skull opened up.
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Tech skills and soft skills: What workplaces need to focus on in 2023

11 Jan 2023

As we enter into a new year, many people will want to learn new skills for work. Here are some predictions for 2023’s most in-demand skills.

In today’s employment market, workers expect good quality learning and development (L&D) opportunities from their employers. In fact, L&D programmes are going to be one of several talking points this year in particular when it comes to workplace trends.

Adare Human Resource Management’s latest HR Barometer report looked at L&D programmes in the context of retention, recruitment and talent acquisition – all of which it said are going to be priorities for companies in 2023.

The report’s authors said that companies should be evaluating their L&D programmes regularly to ensure they are fit for purpose. (That’s presuming most employers have L&D programmes in the first place).

Employers can be selective about how they invest time and money into upskilling their workforce. Many companies think of their L&D programmes as an investment and the results – upskilled, confident workers – as the return on investment.

When put that way, it’s a no-brainer for employers to support staff in their career development goals through useful, relevant L&D programmes.

There will  also be a renewed focus on skills Europe-wide as the European Commission has designated 2023 the European Year of Skills.

Given the ongoing skills shortages in areas such as cybersecurity, tech skills are bound to be part of this campaign.

In practical terms, it remains to be seen how exactly the European Year of Skills will fund skills initiatives but EU president Ursula von der Leyen did say last year that the commission would focus “on skills that help companies and strengthen Europe’s growth”.

So, what are some of the skills employers and employees might focus on over the next few months?

Tech literacy for all workers

Tech literacy for all workers will more than likely be something that employers both nationally and internationally will be keen to implement.

Boosting innovation in sci-tech depends on all sectors having a basic understanding of technology.

According to Paul Milloy, business consultant at software company Intradiem, “it is imperative that business leaders recognise the need to develop a digital mindset throughout their organisations”.

“It seems clear that the need for manual and physical skills, as well as basic cognitive ones, will decline, but the demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow.”

Milloy pointed out that even those who don’t work in the IT sector need to have some understanding because technology is continuing to evolve at such a rate that people who don’t keep on top of it may find themselves struggling to catch up.

“Tech literacy is set to become core to every role,” he said, adding that this means continuous learning options need to be provided as the need for various skills arises.

In a recent opinion piece for, Milloy wrote about how he believes intelligent automation can benefit workers in 2023. Automation includes AI, and when workers are empowered to use it, they can help make their working lives more efficient.

Cloud, coding and cybersecurity skills

Kelvin Ong, chief of staff at e-learning platform Microverse, has seen a significant rise in the number of people seeking cloud skills in 2022.

“From working with hundreds of employers worldwide, we’ve found they are increasingly looking for professionals versed in it.”

“Another thing to take note of is while there are tons of new shiny technologies, the good old ones — like Python, Java, and Ruby — will continue to be the most relevant,” he said, referring to the most in-demand coding languages for the coming year.

“JavaScript-based frameworks will also be in demand, such as Vue, React, Angular and Node,” Ong concluded.

Raj Samani, SVP of cybersecurity company Rapid7 was keen to emphasise the importance of cybersecurity skills for workers. He believes not enough is being done at executive level to train workers, leaving businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks.

“In 2023, organisations need to recognise that they’ve got to start putting effort into providing the opportunity for individuals to learn, train, and understand. Organisations are asking for more unique skill sets; therefore, collectively as an industry, there must be a commitment to nurture top talent,” he said.

Soft skills for flexible working

Of course, it’s not just technical skills that employers are going to be looking for; those are no good without the soft skills such as communication and adaptability to back them up.

The ideal combination of soft skills and tech skills will become more desired than ever with flexible and hybrid working models.

Remote workers need to be able to use tech to communicate appropriately with their colleagues. Informed by his work with Microverse, Ong predicts that remote hiring will increase over the next few years meaning there will be opportunities for people with the relevant skills to take advantage.

“It’s important people master written communication, low-context communication and asynchronous communication. We also need to start thinking about how we can use the tools at our disposal, like digital calendars and task management solutions, for example, as part of our communication strategies.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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