Previously, hard skills were valued more than soft skills in the workplace. But that has changed significantly in recent years. According to Rohan Rajiv, Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, “Fundamental soft skills have become even more important given the rise of remote and self-employment, and are gaining prominence across all industries, levels and work environments. In fact, these soft skills were in 78% of job postings globally in the last three months.” But it’s not just about recruiting employees with the right transferable skills. Companies also focus on developing workers to meet social and emotional skills that are in high demand. As reported in a McKinsey surveythe proportion of companies addressing empathy and interpersonal skills doubled in 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, skills such as leadership and management became a much higher priority for most companies, jumping ten percentage points year over year, rising from 40% to 50%.
Soft skills generally refer to categories such as leadership, communication, and problem solving. On the other hand, technical skills are the technical abilities that can be quantified and measured. Typically, workers can acquire this knowledge through formal courses, on-the-job training, and real-world experiences. Based on recent data from LinkedIn, “Hard skills can help you get a recruiter’s attention, but soft skills can help you land the job.” In fact, 45% of all LinkedIn Premium jobs posted in the last three months mention the importance of communication skills. And more than 61% of professionals say soft skills in the workplace are just as important as hard skills.
Clearly, soft skills are in greater demand than ever. Let’s take a closer look at why and how you can leverage them to future-proof your career.
Soft skills ensure career longevity
Technical abilities can only take you so far in your career. To really soar, you need skills that are harder to measure but essential to success. In LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends Report, 89% of recruiters say that when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually comes down to a lack of people skills. While most people are hired for their technical abilities, their soft skills give them “career durability”, said Alexandra Levitauthor of Humanity Works: Merging Technology and People for the Workforce of the Future. Levit defines this term as the ability to acquire the skills, knowledge and mindset necessary to be an engaged and productive team member. “For someone to be successful ten years from now, they have to be resilient and able to reinvent themselves in different learning environments,” she adds.
Soft skills are highly transferable
Hard skills are constantly changing, but soft skills stay with you throughout your career. This is because they are relevant, transferable, and maintain a highly employable individual. In addition, soft skills are desirable because if you already have them, your employer does not have to train you on them. As a result, you can more easily get started and make valuable contributions. Rajiv adds: “While companies often provide training in the specialist skills required, soft skills provide the foundation on which to continue developing other skills, which is why they are in such demand now.” Due to their transferability, soft skills also facilitate change careerno matter what industry or business you want to go to.
Soft skills are essential for remote work
As companies embrace hybrid or remote work models, soft skills have become just as important as technical knowledge. For example, communicating and collaborating effectively has become a top priority as these skills are essential for success in a virtual world. Additionally, with remote positions in high demand, the talent pool is increasingly crowded. Many job applicants will have similar qualifications and technical skills. By showcasing your soft skills, you’ll have a competitive edge that will land you the job you really want.
Since the pandemic, soft skills are no longer optional. Instead, they’re essential to getting hired and succeeding in today’s workplace. Keeping them sharp will help you stand out, stay competitive, and ultimately future-proof your career.