The rise of soft skills in the workplace

16/07/2020

Nobody can doubt that technology is changing the way we work. And fast. According to McKinsey, the demand for technological skills will climb 55% by 2030, so it’s a great time to get a job in the tech industry.

But the rise of technology is having another effect onour workforce – an increasing demand for soft skills. The term ‘soft skills’ isdifficult to visualise, given that it covers those intangible skills such asleadership, collaboration and communication. Cegos, a long-time promoter of soft skills, defines them as“behavioural skills…a set of interpersonal, situational and emotional abilitiesthat help the company and its people cope with the complexity andunpredictability of the world around them.”

As technology and artificial intelligence continue to replace jobs traditionally done by humans, so the human touch is becoming increasingly valued in other areas.

LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Werner, in an interview with Inc.says: “As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we're stillmiles away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interactionand human touch." There is a great incentive for people to develop softskills, he says, as jobs that depend on them will be “more stable for a longerperiod of time”.

In a recent report, Conseild’Orientation pour l’Emploi (COE) note that “threeskills groups should all be mobilised in an economy which has been radicallychanged by the conversion of artificial intelligence and Big Data.”

So, what are these skills? In addition to specialistand new technological skills, the Conseil lists ‘cross-cutting’ skills, whichinclude social skills (teamwork, social intelligence, etc.) and situationalskills (autonomy, learning how to learn). 

McKinseysays these skills will increase by 8% within the next decade. Not at the samerate as technical skills, but nonetheless a significant growth in demand.

Time to act

The reasons why company leaders are now taking softskills seriously are clear. When their people are armed with a strong set ofsoft skills, their organisation becomes more competitive. And a smart workforceis a productive workforce.

Yet there is a challenge here because too many peopledo not possess the right level of soft skills to become fully productive.According to a Bloomberg studyback in 2018, four in 10 organisations say that recent graduates lack the softskills they need to be successful. They cite emotional intelligence, complexreasoning, negotiation and persuasion as being highly valued skills that shouldbe developed.

Cegosrecently released a white paper – ‘Futureof Soft Skills’ – in which we examine the benefits of boosting soft skillsin your workforce. As well as increased competitiveness, companies can lookforward to higher retention rates and better productivity. Employees feel morein control of their professional lives, too, and are more content as a result.

There is also a whole section on the 7 key skills that will help transform your organisation in the future, plus advice on how to successfully implement them into the working environment.

Acquiring soft skills takes lots of practice andguidance, so when you create a framework that allows your people to developthose skills whilst on the job, you can expect a greater level of success.

What better way to prepare for the challenges oftomorrow?

If you would learn more about our soft skills programmes, contact us for more details on how you can transform learning into performance!