Why soft skills matter in today’s workforce

No matter where you are in your career, whether you are a new graduate or an experienced professional seeking a job change, you might be wondering what it takes to succeed in today’s professional world. While having training and knowledge in certain areas is certainly crucial, the importance of soft skills are often forgotten when it comes to determining career success. So, what are soft skills and why do they matter in today’s workforce?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the more intangible and non-technical abilities that relate to a personality trait or quality. Examples of these includes communication, interaction, creativity, problem solving, listening and leadership. Although many are innate human qualities, they can also be learned with practice and experience.

What are known as “hard skills” are those technical skills that are job-specific, and are usually developed through training and education. They can include skills such as proficiency in using a certain software, or being able to perform a specific learned task.

While technical skills are essential in any profession, increasingly soft skills are critical to the day-to-day operations of a business. You may be great at coding a website, but if you cannot relate to the user experience, work in a team or think creatively, you are less likely to be hired.

Showcasing your soft skills during the job search

You should consider showcasing those skills that aren’t just apparent on your CV in an interview, in addition to your technical skills. Hiring managers will assess your ability to communicate with others throughout the interview process, whether you notice it or not. When answering a question, you may want to talk about, for example, how you used your problem-solving skills to overcome an obstacle, or how you show adaptability when change occurred.

If a hiring manager prompts you to provide examples of how you overcame certain situations, think of your capabilities and strengths that speak to these examples. Employers are always seeking well0-rounded candidates when hiring for most positions.

Why soft skills are so important in today’s workforce   

With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), human-centric skills are becoming more critical. Advances in technology have meant that less tasks require hard skills, making soft skills a key differentiator in the workplace.

A study by Deloitte Access Economics predicts that “Soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.” As the performance of robots and certain machinery improves, jobs such as manufacturing and packaging line workers will become automated. Skills such as teamwork, communication and fast-thinking will become even more important.

Career progression and promotion

Consider how these soft skills affect your career progression and your chance at gaining a promotion. A report by iCMS Hiring Insights found that 94% of HR professionals believe that workers with strong soft skills have a higher chance of being promoted to a leadership position than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills.

Soft skills such as leadership, decision making and strategy are essential for career growth, and they become even more essential as you move into higher positions.

Interaction in the modern workplace

As the workplace becomes more interpersonal, skills such as listening, teamwork, presenting and communicating are highly valued in today’s workplace. Companies are starting to integrate open plan offices, which boosts more efficient communication and collaboration between teams. There is also a greater focus on creating healthier work environments, which may include implementing certain initiatives or strategies that encourage an increase in employee engagement.

Moreover, working remotely is becoming increasingly present in today’s workplace. Although remote workers may have less interaction with their colleagues, workers will need to adapt to working effectively in virtual teams, through skype, video or other channels. As the way we communicate in the modern workplace changes, so do the skills required of us.

As you take that next step in your career, partner with an agency who can help you get where you want to go. Visit our Career Resources page for more useful job application tools and advice, or get in touch with us today.