Are soft skills the future of work?

There are as many jobs being displaced as there are new jobs being created. As such, possessing in-demand skills is essential to ensure that you remain relevant and attractive as a job seeker in the market.

Female automation engineer testing automatic drill on a table  in manufacturing plant in front of laptop analysing the performace

The workforce is vastly evolving with major drivers of transformation such as technology and increased global mobility. This is especially so for global organisations who are far more susceptible to embracing current trends to maintain their competitive edge. This includes acknowledging factors such as changing nature of work styles, emerging markets, and a growing younger demographic.

The value of soft skills

Soft skills are essential, simply because they are much more challenging to to develop than hard skills. Hard or technical skills are quantifiable attributes such as data analytics, accounting, or manufacturing. Soft skills, often called people skills or emotional intelligence, are defined as the ability to interact amicably with others. Soft skills are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication, and interaction with others.

The World Economic Forum has identified the top 10 soft skills that every individual should nurture and cultivate this 2020. Here are the top 5 that you can focus on and apply in your job.

Complex problem solving with Critical Thinking

It is always beneficial to possess good problem solving skills as we all encounter challenges on a daily basis. Being proactive in conducting self-research is also key as it is the first step to defining the issue, and solving problems often requires external data and knowledge. This can be applied to niche and independent roles like software engineers or data scientists who may deal with technical issues on a daily basis.

Critical thinking abilities are among the most sought-after skills in almost every industry and workplace. Part of critical thinking is the ability to carefully examine something, whether it is a problem, a set of data, or a text. For example, a manager analysing customer feedback and using the information gathered to develop a customer service training session for employees demonstrates critical thinking.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is having thatability to understand and manage emotions and greatly increases our chance of success. It consists of five main aspects – namely:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills

In 1995, psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman published a book introducing most of the world to the concept of emotional intelligence which you can read more of here.

Judgement and decision-making

Decision-making is a core skill that every employee will need to use at some stage in their career. Many employees are forced to make complex decisions routinely as part of their job description; and sometimes these decisions have to be made under intense pressure.

Thus, making an informed decision in a timely manner is crucial, especially for example in the case of as creating a timeline for thelaunch of a new product, or even identifying ways to save costs by reviewing multiple business areas.

Service oriented

Organisations of today are putting customers at the heart of their business. Now, being customer centric is more than just about offering a good product or a helpdesk. It is a cultural way of life for the company and impacts everything from employee engagement to customer experience.

According to Forbes, brands that have superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors. Hence, being able to listen to your customers and map out your customer's journey is essential for businesses to tailor products and services.


The Oxford Dictionary defined creativity as: “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”.

Jobs of today often involve creativity and innovation. If you are an analyst for instance, your role might require you to spot patterns in the information you are looking at, or come up with a solution that no one else has thought of before. All of this involves having a creative eye that can take a different approach from all other approaches.

As technology infiltrates deeper into our world of work, it is our innate human skills, such as our creativity, that will hold the highest value. According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the demand for higher cognitive skills, including creativity, will rise almost 10% by 2030.

Want to stay on top of competition?

Asia-Pacific continues to increase as an area of importance for the global industry, attracting top performing talents from across the world. If you want to stand out, be sure to work on the above skills and you could be the next most sought after candidate.

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