Soft skills for better business & future employability

- Posted on July 29, 2019

Surprisingly, a very interesting study by Deloitte, estimates that two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 will depend on soft skills. Most employees believe they have enough soft skills to fulfill successfully their current role. But, in fact, demand for soft skills already exceeds supply by up to 45%.

The latest soft skills requested by some of our clients include things like cognitive flexibility, business empathy, perspective takings or focus & self-control which is sometime seen as missing among millennials. These abilities generally won’t be offloaded to AI any time soon; they can be transferred from one workplace to another and make it easier for people to adapt to changing work scope or changing corporate culture. In fact, the more competitive, technological and customer demanding your Industry becomes, the more soft skills become important to your company and personal success. Automation and artificial intelligence will result in a greater proportion of jobs relying on soft skills.

Unlike hard skills that are learned, soft skills are similar to emotions or insights and allow people to interact intelligently with others. You don’t learn them in a typical classroom setting and they are, in fact, much tougher to evaluate and measure. Some of our clients would invite candidates to a group dinner, after the set of interviews, and evaluate their ability to interact socially, lead conversations or share their values and opinions in a casual setting. Another way for company spending a lot of time communicating in writing over Slack, would be to ask candidate complex questions and gauge their ability to make themselves understood via a slack written format.

Think about it from a business prospective: if we look at our Smart City & IoT sector, how important is it that you truly understand & address your City customer’s paint points or fears around data collection, security, citizen complaints and so on and so forth? Beyond your technical response, if you want to make an impact & convince, you need at least empathetic listening, critical thinking and great communication skills.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued because a lot of companies seem to expect employees to know how to behave on the job without saying. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of taking initiative, sharing information, asking & giving feedback, being a team player and producing high-quality work. There is a general misconception that employees naturally pick up soft skills. In fact, this is not the case. In essence, calling them “soft” subtly diminishes their importance.

It takes conscious effort, ongoing practice, and a commitment to self-development to improve your soft skills. There are numbers of ways to develop or enhance these skills once you feel a need for improvement in some areas. Ask yourself: how aware & objective are you really of your strengths & weaknesses?

If you would like to assess your strengths & weaknesses, contact our Talent Engagement Director, Nadia Chen:

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