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.

Creativity

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.

Search for a job with us today

Read more insights

Abstract picture of pink bubbles of blood cells on a blue background closeup
22 February 2022

How can companies provide meaning to their employees

The next Work in Progress documentary explores the topic of purpose in work and how companies can provide meaning to the work they do. 

Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge in Northern California
25 November 2021

Building a diverse workforce in the Asia Pacific region

Assisting our financial services client to map the market and source candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Solar and wind farm through the mist at dawn
26 October 2021

Being a climate conscious business

How climate change is affecting our business and the STEM markets we operate in with independent sustainability consultancy Avieco.

volunteers working at a plant recycling centre
22 October 2021

Empowering our colleagues to help the environment

Everyone at SThree gets 40 paid volunteering hours a year. Read about how our teams around the world are helping the environment.

Close up of a child getting vaccinated in the arm
24 September 2021

Providing access to medical testing through mobile and logistics technology

This health tech start-up uses mobile and logistics technology to provide access to medical testing, including COVID-19 in rural Nigeria.

Close up of bionic hand and its electrical components
24 September 2021

Improving mobility and quality of life through 3D printed prosthetics

Improving mobility and quality of life through 3D printed prosthetics

close up of the inside of a plastic bottle lying discarded on the ground
24 September 2021

Digitising water utility operations to reduce water shortages in Africa

How the WayPoints team developed software that brings water utility operations in Africa into the 21st century.

Combine harvester at dawn sparing fertilizer on crops
24 September 2021

Tackling bacterial diseases in agriculture and beyond

The Uniphage team are hoping their innovative STEM business concept will create platform technology to cure bacterial diseases in agricul...

 Young Indian farmer with agronomist at banana field
24 September 2021

Alleviating single-use plastic in the fast food sector

A team of students from India developed sustainable food packaging to reduce the amount of plastic packaging being produced

birds eye view of a dam full of water releasing small volume  down the valley
24 September 2021

What if you could turn single-use face masks into clean energy?

Living Energy are hoping their innovative STEM business concept will turn our global single-use plastic problem into a clean energy source.

New road construction with steam roller and other machinery
24 September 2021

Transforming the construction market with a low-carbon alternative

A team of young entrepreneurs from India have developed a low-carbon alternative that could transform the global construction market.

Women inspecting quality of plant crops wearing goggles and holding clipboard
24 September 2021

Who knew cows loved the salty taste of seaweed?

Based in the UK, a team of students have developed a cow feed that uses seaweed to reduce the amount of methane entering the atmosphere

Wind turbine maintenance engineer working during daylight
15 September 2021

How expertise in niche fields kept a US wind farm construction project on track

Global renewable energy construction company benefits from key hires with specialist skills in wind turbines.

Male robotics scientist standing next to computer screens and robot mimicking his actions
04 June 2021

Now is the time to energise the future of work

We've partnered with Samuel Durand on a new documentary exploring the future of work

Gettyimages 154511418 RT1
10 October 2020

It's okay to not be okay - why should you care about your mental health?

This article looks at why you should care about your mental health, especially during a pandemic this World Mental Health day.

hand touching pint fiber optics
25 June 2020

The future of the workplace is now

Experts discuss the future of work and what it means for the fourth industrial revolution.

Young Asian male entrepreneur on sat on window ledge with laptop in lap and mobile phone in the other at night
08 November 2019

Secrets to success: from trainee to manager

In this article we speak to our Contracts Team Manager about his success at SThree to date and what it was like moving up the ladder from...

Birdseye view of two cargo ships at port
07 August 2019

Corporate social responsibility in recruitment

Head of CSR Gemma Branney discusses the importance of ethical procurement in the recruitment industry