Every area of business faces the challenge of keeping up with the breakneck speed of technological and social change. This means that employees need to adapt more than ever before. We need to figure out what skills will position us best for success. If we take a look at job ads, what employers specify are usually hard skills, most of them obtained from formal education. But hard skills are not the only ingredient in a recipe for success. While having those hard skills is important, soft skills are going to matter as much as or even more in driving career success for people who want to progress upwards in their careers.
Deloitte has reported that transferable soft skills are becoming so important that by 2030, around 2/3 of all job roles will require soft skill-intensive employees. The fact is, many hard skills are now under threat from advancements in technology. Artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning are taking over all types of jobs. Skills such as data entry, email marketing, and data analysis can now be automated. But here’s the thing – all those machines are not yet advanced enough or to replicate many other human abilities, and those abilities include human emotions and how to respond to them.
In professional services, we rely on advice, integrity, and judgment to drive business and these attributes are human, not a machine. LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report has surveyed 4,000 professionals globally found that training for soft skills is the top priority for them. Advancements in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence also make soft skills increasingly important, given that they are can’t easily be learned by robots. There are dozens of soft skills, but these are the top five basic requirements for most jobs from Udemy:
Communication: without communication, the team lacks efficiency, harmony and the ability to pull together in a crisis. Encouraging openness at all levels can help identify problems as they arise and lead to faster action.
Flexibility: this is the ability and willingness to adapt to the changing situation. Without it, no business can move forward. When employees can adapt to any change in the workplace, they can cope with any problems that arise.
Conflict Management: this skill is considered to be the most important soft skill because employees with the confidence to solve problems are inquisitive and have a lot of initiative vital to making a success in critical situations.
Stress Management: today stress management is important in everyone’s lives. It’s necessary for long happy lives with less trouble that will come about. That is why, effective stress management is essential to handle our stress level efficiently when it occurs, that we can think clearly, perform our professional role productively and relish healthy life.
Time Management: the last but not least, this is the backbone of efficiency, the ability to schedule a time for tasks and to present self-discipline reduces instances of fake work, prevents time-wasting and helps everyone in the organization achieve their goals.
If you’re wondering why soft skills are so important, you need only look at the evolution of IT, from back-end function to a fully integrated business unit. Employers need IT’s professionals with good communication and collaboration skills because they’re expected to work with a far greater section of the business than ever before. While technical skills will look great on a CV and are a key requirement, it’s often soft skills that can stand as the ultimate differentiator. So, while technical or digital skills
are undoubtedly essential in the workplaces of today, the people who stand to make the most notable difference are those who will embrace and demonstrate their soft skills. Without that, we really could be a world run by robots.
In sum, technology is pushing us all to change and adapt and we had no choice but to learn, adapt and change or get left behind. Hard skills may help us get the job done faster, while soft skills are what helps us get the job done better. Here’s why we need to stop thinking of “soft skills” as some kind of add-on and instead include them on our list of essentials for job and career success.