Soft skills most sought after by recruiters and organizations

The soft skills most sought after by recruiters

Some behavioral and social skills or soft skills, as they are commonly called, will be increasingly important at work, given the rapidity of technological changes that are taking place. These skills, which are more subjective and complex to assess, are those that allow us to relate and interact with each other. Let's therefore review the soft skills with examples, the most sought after and which seem to be the most relevant in our time.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

What are Soft Skills and Hard Skills?

Digital transformation and the advancement of science and technology bring us robotics, autonomous transport, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, learning machines, advanced materials, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Hard skills are people's technical skills. They are taught in schools and can be specific to domains such as programming, design, beekeeping, engineering, law, medicine, etc. These are normally certified by training entities.

The soft skills most sought after by each organization depend on the culture and the people who work there. The mental and emotional capacities, controlled by the right side of the brain, are at stake.

The evolution and development of soft skills depends on leaders who can help develop employees' behavioral skills.

What are the Soft Skills and Examples of the Most Wanted by Organizations

Critical Thinking

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With the increase in available information and the “information noise” that proliferates on social networks, and even the disinformation that has been present practically without any control, it is necessary to have critical thinking and the ability to interpret and interconnect data and information.

Decisions are increasingly difficult to make and a good decision has to be supported, not only based on credible information, but also with critical thinking that questions the various actions to be taken and their repercussions.

More than just doing the task, critical thinking is important. It is, therefore, one of the most sought after soft skills in any organization.

Do not take the apparently quickest route of rumors or opinions found on social media and trivialized within the community.

Data analysis

In most companies the most important asset is data.

Knowing how to access relevant data for the organization, interpret them, interrelate and structure them, so that they can be used with clarity and confidence, adding value to existing information, is crucial.

It often also implies having the discernment and critical thinking necessary to question the validity of some of these data and better ascertain their veracity.

Creativity

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With the enormous amount and speed of introduction of new technologies, new products and new ways of working, the ability to bring innovation in any field of activity is increasingly necessary.

It is necessary to convert original ideas into reality!

Finding solutions to new problems that arise, or to old problems with new, more efficient and effective solutions, is what is increasingly needed.

The acceptance of ideas and new work processes is essential to implement innovative strategies, which have an impact on organizational change processes.

Robotics can help us get some tasks done faster, but "still" lacks the creative capacity of humans.

Solving Complex Problems

Solving complex problems requires critical thinking, some creativity, logical reasoning and the ability to make decisions.

Problems usually have many variables with different positive and negative impacts. It is necessary to weigh the pros and cons of each aspect as best as possible.

Minimizing risk and optimizing results is the best way to solve and solve a complex problem.

It is also one of the soft skills most sought after by recruiters.

Ethics

Intertwined with creative thinking and the ability to question to make the most correct decisions is ethics.

If, underlying the decision-making, the internal repercussions on the organization are not considered, but rather the personal interest or another incompatible with the interest of that one, we are facing an unethical attitude and, consequently, harmful to the organization.

Ethical behavior is crucial, as it cannot be replicated with robotization, artificial intelligence or any other technological change.

Business ethics is the result of the practices that leaders assume, aligning behaviors with the organization's strategy and values.

Leadership

Good leadership allows you to obtain the best results from the work group's efforts. The sharing of responsibilities, motivation, respect and appreciation of merit make each employee's contribution to the overall result of the organization more effective.

Anticipating change, being attentive and interpreting its signals in the market in general or in the specific sector of the organization's activity, allows guiding the teams' performance.

A climate of trust and empathy to be able to put yourself in the other's shoes, understand their emotions, favors synergy.

Leadership skills are necessary both for top managers and for team coordination. Dispersed teams, working remotely or hybridly, in more fluid structures, sometimes in different countries and cultures, make this capacity more relevant.

Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills appeal to ethics, communication skills to find alternative ways and resolve dilemmas that arise.

Respect for the partner with whom you negotiate. Knowing how to perceive the other's point of view and finding solutions that will please both, as the result of a good negotiation is when all parties win.

These capabilities can in part be replaced by artificial intelligence, using a huge amount of information, but if innovative solutions need to be found, the human “still” has an advantage.

Result Orientation

The professional of excellence has to be organized so as not to get lost in the midst of so many tasks and deadlines to meet, as well as focusing on the actions that have the greatest impact on results.

You have to know how to distinguish the important, the critical and the urgent. It is important to delegate tasks that can be urgent, but not critical.

Be resilient and focused on the goals to be achieved and, if possible, exceed them, not giving in to stress.

Give more importance to the result than the effort to achieve it.

Emotional intelligence

It is increasingly important to know how to manage the relationship with others, recognizing differences and communicating effectively.

An emotionally intelligent person knows that their emotions influence their own behavior, as well as those around them.

The ability to put yourself in the shoes of others, to understand their reasons, generates empathy that machines do not have.

With the predictable increase in the acceleration of digital and remote work, this interaction is even more necessary and essential in the coming years.

Judgment and Decision Making Capacity

Go from critical thinking, creativity and business ethics to the ability to judge to put an idea into practice.

No decision is absolutely consensual.

Having evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each decision, the different ideas and people who are against or in favor, it is necessary to be able to overcome barriers and make the decision.

Making a wrong decision is better than making no decision at all. A wrong decision can be corrected and a non-decision reveals the absence of the proper skills.

Customer Orientation

Guidance for serving other partners is essential, especially if the work you do has to deal directly with customers.

Colleagues and business partners, not being customers, should be treated with respect and sympathy as if they were them.

Everyone must guide their actions by the needs of those who keep the organization alive and respect all stakeholders in the same way, as if they were customers.

Cognitive Flexibility

The ability to adapt to different functions or different work supports and the use of new technologies and knowledge is crucial to face the transformation of society.

It is necessary to know how to overcome the routine and the usual procedures, having the ability to find alternative solutions and know how to adapt to new situations.

What we think is true today may no longer be true in the short or medium term, so we need to have the flexibility to adapt our thought process to the new reality.

Adaptation is key to developing the flexibility and mental resilience needed to deal with constant change.

Flexible individuals are more open to change, are generally curious about new things, and are willing to acquire new skills. They are better able to focus on opportunities rather than obstacles.

This is another of the soft skills most sought after by organizations, with a strong upward trend.

Digital Literacy

The ability to learn and use digital technologies safely and effectively is central both now and in the future.

People with strong digital literacy skills easily communicate and collaborate with new tools and technologies and better understand the impact of their use at work and in business.

Time Management

Planning and managing your time effectively is essential for good organizational performance.

It allows you to improve productivity and better balance your personal and professional life.

The new technologies available can help with time management.

These skills are also important to exercise the soft power, in Joseph Nye's expression.

Develop soft skills

Learn to manage emotions, first realizing that you are under a strong emotion, becoming aware of it and not reacting instantly. Staying alert, focused not on the problem causing the emotion but on solving the problem.

Will improve your time management, avoiding the interruption of tasks you are doing, unless the reason is urgent or critical. If the interruption can be delayed, schedule the issue for more appropriate timing. Communicate in a polite and friendly manner, but don't be afraid of not being able to always say “yes”.

always ask feedback to people who know you personally and professionally, to assess your personal skills and use the answers to always improve.

Which soft skills will be most necessary

The World Economic Forum (WEF), in its report The Future of Jobs, published in May 2023, “analyzes global labor market trends and the skills most sought after by employers in different sectors of the economy”.

Capabilities to be developed by 2027
Capabilities to be developed by 2027

As the report states, of the main skills (core skills) of workers, 44% will no longer be as important.

This is mainly “due to technological advances, which makes it important to develop and improve the skills necessary to remain competitive in the job market”.

Cognitive abilities are, today, the most important.

Analytical and creative thinking, first and second in the 2023 ranking, also occupy these positions in the 2027 ranking.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are becoming very important.

Still, leadership skills and social influence have a prominent place. They are in ninth place in the 2023 ranking and move to fourth place in 2027.

Thus, despite all the technological evolution, the characteristics that make us true human are those that enable us to relate to each other, create empathy and trust capable of being innovative.

See too

The Future of Jobs

World Economic Forum report

The Future of Jobs 2023
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