Top employers of choice have long preached that you should hire on personality and train for skills. We explore the softer skills that are most likely to capture the attention of employers.
In an environment of digital technology, robotics and automation, employers are realising that hard skills are far easier to automate than soft skills like communication, empathy, creativity and leadership.
On top of that, as our workforce ages and several generations come together in the same workplace, an entirely new set of skills is required for effective co-working, collaboration, problem-solving and two-way mentoring.
Early in 2016, Randstad conducted research in which they asked 19,000 working-age adults what they believed were the most important soft skills for today’s workplace. Here is what they told us.
• Creativity and problem solving (20%)
• Adaptability and flexibility (16%)
• Persistence, perseverance and patience (14%)
• Leadership and the ability to inspire others (8%)
• Communication and presentation skills (8%)
Most fascinating is the fact that communication came last, and what was previously seen as relatively unimportant in business – creativity – tops the list.
boosting your soft skills
Some believe that softer skills are ones you must be born with – but that's not the case. Training courses exist for soft skills. These courses are now highly developed, particularly as our knowledge of human psychology and performance has leapt forward over the past decade.
Certain workshops involve practising putting yourself in other people’s shoes. After all, communication, patience, leadership and problem solving are often about listening.
Just as important is the framework in which people find themselves in an organisation. If people are allowed to be creative and are told that it’s okay to take risks and make mistakes, and if innovation is properly recognised and rewarded, then staff members are far more likely to utilise their soft skills.
Business experts and academics generally agree that soft skills are the hard skills of the future. So figure out which ones you’re good at and how you can demonstrate your ability to use them, then openly discuss these in job interviews. Seek training on the ones you feel you’re missing – it could make all the difference for your career.
A Randstad recruitment consultant can help you tailor your application and prepare for an interview based on the specific needs of a role.