Soft skills can be defined as the set of skills that can be human, interpersonal, social or behavioural. They can be seen as innate as they are inherent to the personality of each individual, but they can also be acquired during one’s personal life thanks to the social, academic or corporate environments.
Why are these soft skills so needed today?
In a world where digital and innovation are at the heart of business strategies, it is essential for employees not to be afraid of change but, on the contrary, to know how to manage and accept it. To be an actor of this change, the personal and interpersonal dimensions play an increasingly crucial role. These dimensions are found in particular in the ability to communicate about a project, to convey ideas or to be adaptable, which require mastering a certain number of skills: stress and emotion management, open-mindedness, decision-making, or even public speaking. Organizations are also changing and becoming more and more flexible with fewer hierarchical levels. The ability to take initiative and make decisions is therefore also essential for everyone.
The trend is even stronger as our economies have evolved. From now on, we are seeing a tertiarization of economies and a dominant weight of services, the “customer” becomes predominant and who says customer implies the need to know how to communicate, the need to understand, to know how to listen. It requires listening skills and empathy, but also to be able to manage emotions and resolve conflicts, to know how to manage stress in order to avoid tensions in an increasingly fast-paced environment with increasingly demanding clients.
Soft skills: essential throughout the entire career
Take the example of a recruiter who has the choice between two candidates with similar technical skills. Numerous studies will show us that the recruiter will tend to choose the candidate who will have been able to highlight his soft skills during the interview. A study by the Cereq (Center for Studies and Research on Qualifications) even shows us that behavioural skills play a major role in the level of remuneration of young graduates. People who know how to persevere, who know how to mobilize themselves to achieve a goal, who know how to communicate will generally have significantly higher salaries than others.
In addition, the Adzuna job engine has compiled job postings to verify key skills cited by recruiters. Those that stand out the most are interpersonal skills, organizational skills, autonomy or even creativity, leadership and the ability to be proactive.
Very concretely, if I take my own experience as a Business Developer at Simundia, I can say that my soft skills are very useful to me. My ability to communicate with customers and to listen, my ability to manage my stress but also my perseverance, my resilience are of considerable help in carrying out the missions entrusted to me such as contacting potential customers, convincing them and conduct various meetings.
In conclusion, we can say that soft skills have become as important if not more than hard skills. In a world in which numerous jobs are at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence, soft skills remain the only assets that cannot be replaced.