April 17, 2024

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Why are soft skills in such high demand in today's workforce?

Why are soft skills in such high demand in today's workforce?

a job

Your job performance is a combination of your “hard skills” — your technical knowledge and practical work product — and your intangible “soft skills,” which are sweeping the American workplace.

Soft skills are non-technical skills related to how you work.

These skills include how you interact with your colleagues, how you solve problems and how you manage your business, according to The Balance, a personal finance website.

For example, soft skills include “interpersonal skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management, problem solving, leadership and empathy, among others,” the same source said.

Experts said that employers are looking for these skills, as employees who possess these skills enhance the workplace.

“For many employers, soft skills are just as important as hard skills,” said Kelly Hall, head of recruiting at Enova International, a Chicago-based financial technology company.

“This is because success in the workplace often requires more than just the technical ability to do the job. It's the soft skills that make the difference.”

Here's how to sharpen your soft skills in the workforce.

What soft skills are currently in demand?

Online learning platform Springboard for Business recently released its State of the Workforce Skills Gap 2024 report, which surveyed more than 1,000 corporate professionals working at large companies.

“Our survey found that the most in-demand soft skill, also known as permanent or non-perishable skills, is strategic thinking,” Chris Duchesne, managing director of Boston-based Springboard for Business, told FOX Business.

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“More than half of leaders (57%) say their companies need more people with strategic thinking skills right now.”

Your job performance is a combination of your “hard skills” — your technical knowledge and practical work product — and your intangible “soft skills,” which are sweeping the American workplace. Amenaj – Stock.adobe.com

With the economy in flux, critical thinking is essential in “this pivot-or-perish environment where companies must be strategic and adapt quickly to remain competitive,” Duchesne said.

Additionally, the report revealed that soft skills such as problem solving – which 49% of leaders say their companies need – and oral and written communication skills (46%) are also essential to keeping up with the rapidly evolving landscape.

The final list is emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationships, the report said.

Why are soft skills so important for employees?

Duchesne noted that since 79% of leaders say the longevity of technical skills is limited to five years or less, soft skills are becoming increasingly important.

“Soft skills are even more important to adapt and overcome new challenges as artificial intelligence continues to dramatically change every industry,” he noted.

“These competencies cannot be outsourced to AI in the same way that technical skills can. They are also essential leadership skills that apply in every job and at every level.

Businesswoman presenting to colleagues in conference room.
These skills include how you interact with your colleagues, how you solve problems and how you manage your business, according to The Balance, a personal finance website. Jacob Lund – Stock.adobe.com

How can job seekers showcase their soft skills?

Employers often receive hundreds of resumes for a single job, so highlighting your soft skills in the language of your resume is a smart move, experts say.

Use words like: facilitated, offered, negotiated, and implemented.

“For candidates to stand out, they need to make sure their soft skills won't get lost on the page,” Hall, a recruiting expert at Enova, told FOX Business.

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“Be honest, and mention soft skills by name.”

According to Springboard's Duchesne, soft skills are a way to set yourself apart in an interview, especially when the majority of other candidates who make it to this stage have similar technical skills.

“Identify your unique competencies by speaking through previous work experiences that demonstrate your critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills,” he recommended.

How do soft skills benefit companies?

Employees who master these soft skills not only excel individually, but also raise the bar for their teams and the entire organization, Duchesne told FOX Business.

“They become catalysts for innovation, efficiency and growth,” he said.

“The continued superior performance of these employees highlights a clear connection between mastery of soft skills and professional success. In a constantly evolving business environment, these skills remain in constant demand.


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