THE 9 MOST POPULAR SOFT SKILLS RIGHT NOW
RIDE THE COVID-19 STORM WITH THESE 9 TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
As the COVID-19 pandemic alters nearly every aspect of our lives, the workplace is undergoing an unforeseen transformation that calls for employees with superior soft skills, prompting employers and recruiters to focus on these skills when scouting for talent.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills, also known as transferrable skills, are intangible, non-technical abilities that stem from personality traits, cognitive skills, attitudes and habits and that can be used in any job.
Soft skills are the difference between good candidates and ideal candidates. Because every job requires common sense and interaction with other people, employees with strong soft skills are more productive and successful in the workplace. Unlike hard skills (knowledge-based technical abilities), soft skills are very difficult or impossible to teach.
Soft Skills in High Demand
Demand for employee and candidates with strong soft skills is increasing as companies seek to adapt and thrive in the post-COVID world. Following are the most sought-after soft skills in the current job market.
Employees and job candidates with impressive resumes and technical skills who can’t express themselves do not make good employees. As the pandemic forces us to rely more heavily on remote work and replace in-person communication with voice and text messages, using the right tone of voice and words when talking to coworkers and customers is critical.
2. Problem Solving
The ongoing pandemic has triggered rapid changes that have generated unexpected problems. As a result, companies need people skilled at problem solving, which involves identifying an issue, breaking it down into components and solving it.
3. Flexibility and Adaptability
Flexible employees who can adapt quickly to changing workplace conditions will be more likely to succeed in the post-COVID world and beyond than those who are rigid and set in their ways. For this reason, flexibility and adaptability will continue to be in high demand as employers and recruiters look for people who possess these skills.
4. Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
In times of crisis, disinformation spreads like wildfire, especially when anyone can spread it online via social media, blogs and comments. News are faked, studies are fabricated and data is manipulated, leaving governments, companies and the public to separate fact from fiction. Consequently, employers and recruiters are looking for people who have the critical thinking and analytical skills to objectively gather, process and evaluate information and judge identify credible.
5. Time Management
Remote work is convenient, but it’s also subject to non-work-related distractions and interruptions that introduce new productivity challenges, increasing demand for employees and job candidates with good time management skills. Strong organization, prioritization, goal-setting and delegation skills allow employees to get more done in less time, making them more productive and efficient.
6. Creativity and Innovative Thinking
Thanks to creativity and innovation, businesses have come up with inventive ways to stay in business during the crisis. Human ingenuity can be the difference between life and death, failure and success during turbulent and uncertain times. Demand for people who can dream up and design new products, services, systems and solutions is increasing and will continue to grow in the future.
Every organization needs people with strong leadership skills, especially now. Employees who can prioritize tasks, inspire others and get them to collaborate are better suited to manage a workforce remotely and bring out the best in people during these challenging times.
8. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) skills are crucial to successfully manage relationships with coworkers, vendors and customers. Emotionally intelligent people are aware of their emotions and know how to express and control them in healthy and effective ways. They’re also skilled at handling interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
EQ is particularly important in times of uncertainty, stress and adversity, making it a highly prized soft skill in this job market.
9. Drive to Learn and Upskill
It’s been a rude awakening—the realization that life as we know it can change drastically almost overnight without a war, natural disaster or alien invasion. Anything can happen anytime, and employees who are eager to learn and upskill will be on high demand going forward. People who possess this soft skill have the insight and motivation to expand their abilities and contribute to the progress of their employers.
Assessing Soft Skills
Soft skills are more difficult to assess and measure than hard skills. Given the growing importance of these skills in the workplace, employers and recruiters are likely to increase psychometric testing in the future.
Psychometric tests are a type of pre-employment assessment conducted to quantify subjective behavior and traits such as personality, motivation, ability and ethics. Psychometric testing measures candidates’ suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics, cognitive abilities and aptitudes. The most common types of psychometric tests include:
- personality assessments
- cognitive ability tests.
Hard Skills on the Rise
The pandemic also has lead to increased demand for the hard skills that will have the greatest impact in the future, including the following:
Digital understanding, or tech savviness, involves the ability to learn, understand and use digital platforms and applications. Most current job positions require some degree of digital understanding, and remote work has reinforced the value of this skill.
With people working from home and using a variety of networks and devices, cybercrime is a huge threat. Identity theft and data breaches are common and devastating to individuals and businesses. Cybersecurity hard skills, therefore, are and will continue to be on high demand post-COVID and beyond.
In our inter-connected world, data is a critical asset. Data needs to be harvested, measured and analyzed to help leaders make informed decisions about the future of their organizations. Employees and candidates with strong data analytics skills will be more sought after going forward.
In this rapidly evolving post-COVID world, employers need talent strategies that focus on soft skills in order to attract and retain employees that are better equipped to help companies adapt and thrive.