Making a Hard Case for Soft Skills

Majority of CIOs See Communication and Work Ethic as Top Areas for Improvement Among Tech Pros

Robert Half Technology
181 Bay Street, Suite 820
Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
Contact: Naz Araghian
[email protected]

Toronto, ON –Technology is front and centre 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 (29 per cent) and work ethic (24 per cent) as the top areas where tech professionals could improve. When it came to soft skills for career advancement, executives cited communication, along with problem-solving, as the most important. 

The Hard Case for Soft Skills

CIOs weigh in on the top area technology professionals could improve and skill most important for career advancement.

Area of improvement Skill needed for career advancement
Communication skills (written, interpersonal, &
29% 40%
Work ethics (accountability
& reliability)
24% 17%
Creative thinking 18% 3%
Problem-solving skills 12% 31%
Professionalism 10% 4%
Business acumen 6% 4%
Don’t know/no answer 1% 1%

Source: Robert Half Technology survey of more than 270 CIOs in Canada

© 2016 Robert Half Technology

“Securing a new position in the IT domain greatly depends on a candidate’s technical ability, however, the potential for career growth and leadership opportunities comes down to well-developed soft skills,” said Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology. “Professional advancement requires those in technology roles to demonstrate a strong mix of technical know-how and business competence, alongside the ability to communicate effectively.”

Added Bottineau, “Soft skills take time to develop, and just as professionals should frequently update their technical abilities to keep up with current trends, interpersonal skills should be cultivated 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 270 CIOs in Canada.

About Robert Half Technology

With 120 locations worldwide, 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 online job search services at or visit our technology blog at Follow, and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

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