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4 Reasons Why Soft Skills Are Critical to the Future of the Workforce

Hiring for soft skills is likely going to be even more critical in the next decade, possibly even more important than hard skills. 

It’s not that having employees with hard skills isn’t important anymore—it’s that your company also needs those employees to be able to pick up new skills as technology changes, to think through new problems and find creative solutions, to adjust to changes in their roles and in the workplace. Those soft skills will mean the difference between a workforce that’s ready for whatever the future holds, and one that’s unable to adapt to survive. 

“As we look at AI to automate more and more skilled work, humans will still continue to excel in the areas that require soft skills rather than hard skills. Combining our soft skills with AI’s hard skills will power individual organizations and the economical cycle as a whole. That’s why soft skills should be at the top of anyone’s workforce strategy,” shares Gershon Goren, founder and CEO of Cangrade.

Small wonder, then, that 92% of talent professionals say soft skills are increasingly important when they’re looking to hire new workers. 

Here are four good reasons why soft skills are becoming the most important skills for the future workforce. 

1. AI Taking Over Manual Work 

AI isn’t taking over most roles completely any time soon—but it will likely start replacing work that formerly was done manually relatively fast. This kind of automation and time-saving isn’t anything new. Consider faxing and filing, which used to form a decent part of an office professional’s workday in many roles and which are now done instantly and almost effortlessly with technology. 

With these manual tasks off the table, skills like communication and problem-solving will become much more critical than the hard skills used to complete manual work. McKinsey research shows that by 2030, social and emotional skills will account for 24% more hours worked compared to 2016.

2. More Cheating in Hard Skills Testing 

Another side effect of the rise of AI is the ease with which your job applicants can fake their hard skills on skills assessment tests. Candidates can use AI or even just readily available information on the internet to pretend they have skills they actually don’t, and it’s difficult to weed out the cheaters until they’re on the job. 

But by prioritizing soft skills, which you can evaluate in an interview, you can reduce the harm that cheating on hard skills assessments does—because you’ll know for sure they possess the even more critical soft skills required for success. It’s much harder to fake being a good communicator or innovative problem solver than knowing how to code, for example. 

3. Hard Skills Evolving Fast 

It’s hard to predict exactly which hard skills will be necessary for many roles in the next ten years—or even in five—because technology is evolving so rapidly. With those evolutions comes the rise of new needed skills or the fall of outdated ones, and it’s impossible to predict exactly which hard skills will fall into which category. 

Soft skills, on the other hand, will likely always be critical skills for the future workforce. Knowing how to conduct hiring for soft skills, how to test for them, and even how to train for them (yes, it’s possible) will be essential for creating a workforce that’s ready for anything the future brings. Soft skills give employees the ability to learn and thrive in new roles and spaces, even if their jobs change radically. 

4. Decreasing Emphasis on Hard Skills 

In fact, as the workplace evolves, employees may need to bring hard skills to the table less and less as time goes on. As technology takes care of more and more basic tasks, employees will be called on to solve problems collaboratively and dream of innovative and creative solutions more than performing discrete tasks, in many industries. 

Those soft skills will be more in demand than ever, and so developing a strategic plan for hiring for soft skills is more critical now than ever. 

Looking for a way to evolve your hiring process so you can focus on hiring for soft skills and ensuring all of your employees are ready for whatever the future holds? Cangrade can help.