‘Soft skills’ is the catch-cry of many 21st century employers. Such skills are considered by many businesses to be vital for landing that job. It is important to get jobs in Australia. That’s right people, your qualifications and experience are important, but not as important to certain employers as your mastery of soft skills.
What are Soft Skills?
Australian Institute of Management’s, General Manager Tony Gleeson puts is simply and succinctly, "companies now want job-ready individuals".
‘Soft skills’, as Jennifer George, Associate Professor at Melbourne Business Skills elaborates, are what graduates lack today. ‘Soft skills’ are "about negotiating environments where you have no positional power. They're about having the personal skills to influence, what consultants like to call business savvy. They're about understanding what's going on in the heads of executives and what they care about."
Soft Skills Broken Down
Conflict resolution skills
Ability to create collaborative win-win outcomes
Basically businesses want the whole package no matter what role you perform. They want smooth talkers, who can communicate their ideas effectively and intelligently, who can influence people and get colleagues on-side and on-board while addressing all the conflicting issues in an amicable, collaborative manner. People who are emotionally in control and not prone to letting their emotions dictate their business dealings.
It’s a lot to ask from fresh-faced university graduates and long-time unemployed who most likely have not had enough experience in such a scenario to build these skills. Undertaking a personal development course would be a step in the right direction to developing these abilities.
Once upon a time these ‘soft skills’ played second fiddle to technical knowledge and experience. Not anymore, today having the right qualification and the right experience under your belt is only the beginning where some employers are concerned.
Australian heavy-hitters KMPG and PricewaterhouseCoopers value ‘soft skills’ higher than technical ability. Susan Ferrier, the National Managing Partner for KPMG believes because the internet provides all the information you need at your finger-tips "having big parts of your brain storing technical stuff is going to be less valuable in the world of the future. How you collaborate, solve problems creatively, and authentically lead people will matter more."