In the future world of work, we will likely find that manual and repetitive tasks will become automated by machines resulting in a demand for employees to have strong innately human skills and traits that computers can’t replicate. In an article on Forbes, they predict, “The people who will be most successful in the workplace of the future will be those who cultivate soft skills that relate to how you think, work, and relate to other people.” Below we’ll delve into specifically why soft, not hard, skills are so important for the future of work and how to begin cultivating those skills now.
Why Soft Skills
The difference between soft and hard skills is that soft skills are personality-based whereas hard skills are easier to quantify and can be backed up by degrees and certificates. In an article on Indeed, they say, “Hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge and training while soft skills are personality traits such as leadership, communication or time management.” While our hard skills are often the skills we list on our resume, in an ever-changing work landscape with technology rapidly changing the way we work, these skills can quickly become outdated. Whereas soft skills such as teamwork, empathy, and critical thinking will forever be useful. Both hard and soft skills are key to being a successful employee, but the reason employers value soft skills so much is that they are skills that are harder for employers to teach and are easily transferable from one position to another.
Top Soft Skills for the Future
Forbes put together a list of what they predict will be the most sought-after soft skills for the future of work with the top five being: critical thinking, judgment and complex decision making, emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy, creativity, and collaboration and teamwork. While the World Economic Forum predicts the top skills of 2025 will be analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, and creativity, originality and initiative.
How to Develop Your Soft Skills
In an article on Indeed, some of the ways they recommend improving your soft skills are by: being open to feedback, communicating frequently, emphasizing teamwork, building positive relationships, and stepping outside of your comfort zone. In addition to nurturing and practicing these skills day to day at work, you’ll find online resources such as those on LinkedIn that offer learnings on cultivating these skills.