In the near future, non-technical skills will become more valuable to employers because rote mechanical skills will be done by computers and robots. The top 5 skills companies are seeking in new recruits are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. All of these soft skills are in hot demand but creativity and collaboration are truly essential in our digital economy.
Marketing specialists, graphic designers, teachers, and project managers need creativity.
Teachers, project managers, customer service reps, and nurses need adaptability.
The ability to convince others that their idea or plan is worth pursuing requires the skill of persuasion.
Almost every job requires working with other people, some of whom are located in different parts of the world, which is why collaboration is critical.
The skill that ties most of the others together is time management - if an employee can't get organized enough to produce something, their other skills can't come into play.
Employers also want expertise in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, user-experience design, management, and analytical thinkers, however, hard skills have fallen aside.
According to Darrell West, director of Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation,
"Software designers need people who can translate their work and make devices easy to use by non-specialists. That means teams of technical and non-technical people who can work well together. One without the other will mean devices that are too complicated to use."
I certainly agree with West. Every time I clumsily fumble with new devices, I wonder what engineers designed the products without understanding what we consumers want. So don’t snub students who consider careers in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Who knows - someday you may be applying for a job that requires that you have strong soft skills!