When choosing between similar candidates, organisations now prioritise soft skills as the key differentiator. A 2019 Global Talent Trends report by LinkedIn found that 92% of talent acquisition professionals consider soft skills to be equally or more important to hire for than hard/technical skills, and 89% noted that when a new hire is not a good fit for the business, it’s because of a lack of critical soft skills.

As more of Gen Z enters the workforce, it is becoming apparent that this is an area of focus for them as a lot of them have missed out on milestones and key interactions that would have enabled them to build these skills. A study by Kahoot! found that 42% of Gen Z are looking for soft skills training in the professional landscape.

Soft skills are attributes that enable you to interact effectively with others. They are critical for success in most careers. Because soft skills are unquantifiable professional attributes, it can be difficult for hiring managers and others involved in the hiring process to assess them in potential hires, making them an important but elusive set of skills to look for.

Employers want to know that you can work well with the team.

Soft skills, encompassing interpersonal attributes such as communication, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence, play a pivotal role in shaping positive work environments and fostering effective teamwork. Unlike hard skills, which are tangible and measurable abilities acquired through education and training, soft skills are subjective and pertain to one's personal qualities and communication styles. This intangibility poses a unique challenge for hiring managers and decision-makers, making the evaluation of soft skills during the hiring process a complex yet crucial endeavour.

The increasing prevalence of automation and AI in the workplace has also significantly altered the landscape of job requirements. In this era of technological advancement, the importance of soft skills has surged, and their role has become even more pronounced.

While automation excels at handling routine tasks, it often falls short in dealing with complex, unstructured problems and creative thinking. Soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity become invaluable in navigating situations that require a human touch.

The rapid pace of technological advancements requires employees to be adaptable and open to continuous learning. Increased economic uncertainty and increased cyber threats mean that organisations are looking for staff who can pivot quickly in response to specific incidents and change market conditions. Soft skills such as adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset are essential in navigating frequent changes in job responsibilities and acquiring new skills. Self mastery is at the core of a lot of these skills, and they start with awareness.

By embracing this holistic approach to skill development, you can not only future-proof your career but also contribute to the collective progress of the ever-evolving professional ecosystem. The journey from competence to excellence is rarely about hard skills nowadays; it's about cultivating the art of effective collaboration, fostering creativity, and embracing change. As the future unfolds, those who adeptly navigate this delicate dance between hard and soft skills will not only survive but thrive.

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