Back in January, LinkedIn published a list of top skills that employers are looking for in 2020, noting that “companies are gravitating toward talent with interpersonal and people-oriented [a.k.a. soft] skills.” As workers interact with evolving machines, the need for soft skills is surging. Here are some of the most important ones sought by hiring managers today:
- People management--No matter how many jobs get automated, employees will always be a company’s most prized resource. People management is the key to creating a comfortable, productive, and competent workplace. Encouraging feedback is great as long as there is active listening, too. People management is about collaboration, and that won’t happen if nobody really listens to each other. So, it’s vital that in the future, managers and team leaders know how to listen to and motivate teams, maximize productivity, and respond to needs.
- Creativity--According to an article by HR Vision, “Creativity is predicted to become a key skill in the future, so before you dismiss yourself as a non-creative person, remember that creativity is not the exclusive domain of artsy types like musicians and writers. If you’re able to connect the dots with seemingly disparate information, and throw all the ideas together to present something new, then you are a creative person.” Companies need a free-thinking creative team to be able to look at problems in new, unique ways and find fresh, inventive solutions.
- Negotiation--SThree Careers calls out negotiation as “one of the most important soft skills to possess.” With job automation becoming increasingly commonplace, social skills like negotiation will be more important than ever in the future. When you’re interviewing with a potential employer, be prepared to share examples of your negotiation skills if they are required for the job. Even people in purely technical occupations will soon be expected to show greater interpersonal skills, such as being able to negotiate with colleagues, managers, vendors, clients, and teams.
- Judgement and decision-making--When you exercise good judgement, you are using lessons you’ve learned in the past to inform sound choices for the future. Making sound decisions also means being clear about your mission and vision so you can effectively focus on top priorities. Employers need to know that the people they recruit can be trusted to take initiative and make good decisions in important situations. As a prospective manager, effective decision-making requires the capacity to prepare properly, carefully weigh options, and successfully determine the optimal course of action.
- Emotional Intelligence (EI) --According to Forbes, a study that involved over 2,600 hiring managers showed that 71% valued IE over IQ. Emotional intelligence allows you to recognize and understand emotions and their impacts on behavior and attitudes. Being able to recognize emotions in yourself and others can help you to make better decisions for your company. Managers with high emotional intelligence understand that employees are people first and workers second. A lack of emotional intelligence from both leaders and employees often creates unnecessary anxiety, resistance, and other negative feelings in the workplace.
Research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers actually care more about soft skills than they do about technical abilities. In an increasingly automated world, the unique qualities associated with being human are becoming more important. Possessing and developing soft skills is valuable not only because these skills will help you rise up in the ever-changing workforce, but also because they are transferable across industries.
By Tammy S. Robbins