Author Topic: New Trend Re-Brands ‘Soft Skills’ Into ‘Durable Skills’ For Career Success  (Read 498 times)

Riman Talukder

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Words matter. The term “soft skills”—kindness, compassion, empathy—has gotten a bum rap over the years. In the past, many business leaders considered soft skills to be unnecessary—warm and fuzzy emotions, hippie nonsense or a new age fad that serve no real impact on engagement or performance. Many leaders still adhere to the myth that soft skills create a team of smiling slackers. But the tides are changing, especially with the pervasiveness of artificial intelligence in our lives. As the crucial need for abilities such as empathy, collaboration and adaptability continue to grow, “soft” no longer encompasses the heavy significance of these skills. What businesses and universities are truly looking for are “durable” skills, according to experts. In a previous piece for Forbes, I identified five pivotal soft (renamed durable) skills necessary in today’s global market as compassion, employer-employee trust, empathy, connection and kindfulness.

More companies are starting to see that the ticket to performance, productivity and profit is the delivery of value through “human capabilities” or soft skills to build the organization and its bottom line. They are re-framing the way we look at soft skills, especially as businesses and universities continue to prioritize them in their hiring and admissions. According to Deloitte Insights, 92% of companies surveyed reported that human capabilities or soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills in today’s business world. In a recent piece in Fortune, even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella insists that characterizing empathy as “soft” understates its significance. He does not see empathy as a soft skill, instead saying, “It’s the hardest skill we learn.”

I spoke by email with Dr. Kelly Dore, co-founder and vice president of science and innovation at Acuity Insights and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University. She told me by email that soft terms are often called non-cognitive, which alludes to the inaccurate sentiment of “not thinking”—where in reality, durable skills are the key differentiator that impacts what we bring to the table as humans. If everybody in the room is given the same access to AI and knowledge bases, then what is it that we can add to the room instead?” she asks, adding, “Of course successfully navigating through courses is important, but the end goal is that we're creating compassionate, thoughtful leaders who can collaborate and solve the complex problems in our communities.”

Dore acknowledges that the focus in competitive markets is shifting from mere technical proficiency to the ability to adapt and thrive with evolving technology. “In our swiftly evolving tech landscape, the spotlight is shifting from today’s workforce having only traditional technical proficiencies and more toward the actual adaptability and agility required to thrive amidst these technological evolutions,” she notes. “For instance, AI and large language models like ChatGPT exemplifies this shift, signaling to the world that reliance on book smarts, base information or the mastery of specific frameworks can’t be our sole focus. Instead, the emphasis is on the ability to synthesize information, ensure its accuracy, work with others with different life experiences or skill sets and bring the human-elements into creative problem-solving.”

A survey of 5,164 talent professionals and hiring managers by LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report, reported that 80% of respondents said soft skills are increasingly important in today’s business world, 92% said human capabilities and soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills, and 89% of said when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually boils down to a lack of soft skills. Deloitte predicts that soft-skill intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 and grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations.

Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.
author of Chained to the Desk in a Hybrid World: A Guide to Balance.

Source: Forbes
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« Last Edit: December 03, 2023, 03:10:32 PM by Riman Talukder »
Riman Talukder
Coordinator (Business Development)
Daffodil International Professional Training Institute (DIPTI)