Why soft skills retain their allure | Recruitment News

The digital transformation of the workplace is putting ever greater demands on interpersonal talents.

The human element could become an increasingly valuable asset within the automated workplace, as tech specialists seek soft skills.

As recruiters, when we see reports of skills shortages, we may assume that hard skills are the ones we’re lacking. After all, specific experiences and expertise seem the most difficult to acquire. If any talents should be in short supply, then it makes sense that it should be these.

In fact, soft skills may be the deciding factor for your hires into the tech sector this year.

That is the prediction of online hiring marketplace Digital Profile, who list communication, interpersonal skills, numeracy and literacy as vital assets for a successful candidate. The platform, which caters to digital creatives as well as tech specialists said that “essential soft skills top the needs for employers”.

While the platform rates specific technical knowledge in areas such as HTML, PHP, Python and Javascript as invaluable attributes, the findings reveal one of the more curious aspects of the digital transformation of work.

AI is teaching us there is nothing more human than human

And the impact of automation could be profound. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that one in every two of today’s individual workplace tasks could be automated by 2050. It suggests the same portion (50%) of entire professions that could become obsolete within the same time frame.

As an increasing portion of duties are automated, or carried out through digital platforms, the human element becomes an increasingly rare and valued aspect of the workplace.

And there is also the fact that machine intelligence is not very good with uncertainty. Humans are expert problem-solvers, observers, and interpreters. These are all tasks which even the most advanced AI still stumbles over.

And changes to our physical working environments and in-work social structures increasingly demand the human element. Whether it is co-ordinating an agile team or working remotely, soft skills are the elements that will keep the wheels turning in decentralised working environments.

But this is not to say that hard skills have had their day, either. Back in October 2019 eBoss reported that candidates with tech skills were winning placements in unrelated positions. This was seen as a move by larger employers to snap up specialist knowledge by offering tech talent. It seems that every employer is looking for that one-off, “unicorn candidate”. An all-rounder who possesses both the hard technical know-how, and also integrates seamlessly within loose teams of similarly-minded colleagues.

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