Many companies are realizing that so-called “soft skills” – things like leadership, communication, and empathy – are not things that can be learned in a workshop or on-the-job training. “Soft skills…are far harder to teach, which is why, in a low unemployment market, companies should be looking to hire for soft skills and train for technical skills,” one hiring expert told Fast Company. As a result, candidates that have the requisite soft skills to lead, manage and promote a business are in a great position to get hired. These are the positions and skillsets companies in Silicon Valley are seeking in job candidates this year.
A study by Paysa found that management was the most popular skill mentioned by companies in Silicon Valley with open positions. Around 30% of open positions include management as a “necessary” skill. While management is a fairly vague term, it indicates that more companies are maturing and in need of leadership to continue growing.
“Even in states like California, New York, and Texas (which all lead the country in tech-related positions), management was more commonly listed than any other skill. Being able to coordinate the efforts of engineers, designers, operations teams, and even sales support in the average tech ecosystem is extremely valuable,” notes the study. Management roles require many of the most highly sought-after soft skills; make sure that when applying, you take the time to highlight not just your management experience but also the less tangible qualities you bring to a fast-paced, innovative work environment.
Too many Silicon Valley companies are built on the premise that their product can sell itself. As these ventures mature, and the market becomes more competitive, businesses are learning they need a fully staffed sales team.
As recently as 2018, the Bay Area had more than 3,500 unfilled software sales jobs listed on Indeed. Sales roles in Silicon Valley typically look for some technical expertise beyond the standard skills and expertise. The ability to analyze sales data, as well as speak knowledgeably about cloud services, SaaS, and B2B solutions, are commonly requested capabilities. Silicon Valley companies look for salespeople who can work cross-functionally and use tools like Salesforce and other advanced CRM tools – to work in tech, you must be comfortable using tech.
Chief Revenue Officer
The position of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) was born in Silicon Valley to meet the unique needs of a growing startup. The CRO is essentially the top sales executive: “The CRO’s purpose is to align and optimize the entire customer experience with the aim of increasing revenue. We spend time thinking about common goals and metrics, often connected to KPIs and dollars coming in across the departments we manage,” writes one CRO.
In practice, the CRO is responsible for making sure sales, marketing, and customer service are working in lockstep with each other. This person considers the overall customer journey and all the possible moments where the company can optimize revenue generation by helping the customer achieve their goal. This position requires a combination of emotional intelligence and data analytics; the responsibilities require a truly cross-functional approach to sales and marketing.
Recruiting and Talent Acquisition
“Every day, thousands of new job descriptions get posted from Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley (and everywhere in between). In order to power this growth, the tech industry needs an army of talent scouts to go out and find great employees,” writes hiring resource The Muse.
Industry analysts are predicting that roughly 4.5 million new tech jobs will be created by the end of 2020, mostly to meet the adoption of the Internet of Things, the rise of AI, and the widespread concerns about cybersecurity. Companies across the country are shoring up their People Operations in anticipation of increased competition for the best developers, programmers, and tech leaders. A competitive job market, like the one we’re currently in, means that companies need great recruiters to sell their culture and promote their employer brand. Finding talent will continue to be a primary concern for businesses around the country, not just in Silicon Valley.
What skills and positions does your company need most in 2020? Get in touch on LinkedIn to tell us more about your hiring goals for the year.
Rick is the Senior Recruiting Manager at Elevate Talent, a recruiting agency that helps companies build their Go-To-Market and People Operations teams.