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Are We Moving Towards a World Run on Soft Skills?

Devika Kanse

Everyone talks about how the future is going to focus on soft skills.

What are these soft skills?

Soft skills are defined as desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude. Examples of soft skills entail communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork.

Hard skills and soft skills are complementary, but yet different. Hard skills focus on acquired knowledge, technical competence, and academic excellence while soft skills focus on personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own and with others.

The importance of soft skills in the education sector

The education system once solely focused on hard skills. Anyone who scored excellent marks was deemed to be a good student. The focus was only on academics. This system is now beginning to see changes that focus on soft skills. Students will themselves see that although written exams determine our success largely, schools are trying to develop soft skills by introducing research-based projects, group projects, and presentations. Soft skill development at a younger age is extremely beneficial as it gives students an obvious advantage. Soft skills are helpful in character and personality development. Armed with soft skills, students will be able to better handle interpersonal relationships with a strong sense of empathy. They will also be in a favourable position to monitor the emotions of others so as to come up with well-informed perceptions about others’ behaviour and thinking patterns. Soft skills help improve leadership qualities and development and aid students in setting goals for themselves. Students will be able to look at every situation in an objective manner, without attaching any preconceived judgments about others.

It is seen that individuals with soft skills are better at socializing. They are good listeners who are respectful and are pleasant company.

Earlier, the Indian society saw the dominance of a joint family system. In such a system, the grandparents taught the importance of values, and hence soft skills, to a certain extent, were ingrained very early in life. As time passed, society has transitioned to a nuclear family setup and excessive focus on technology which has led us to lose sight of our values and traditions which explains the lack of soft skills.

Students today are the employees and employers of tomorrow:

For decades, all employers have been focusing only on hard skills. This has been a serious drawback as a job involves networking, interactions, and communications which require soft skills. Soft skills help accelerate one'sones career and a lack of it can limit one’s potential or even be the downfall of one’s business. To put it simply, hard skills make you qualified for a job. Soft skills help you write a resume and give an interview to get the job.

A change has been noticed in the employment trend. Although hard skills are still the fundamental basis for employment, soft skills have been levelled up and given equal importance as while hard skills are crucial for execution, management is impossible and unpredictable without soft skills in place. Skills such as active listening, collaboration, presenting ideas, and communicating with colleagues are all highly valued in the modern workplace

Studies by Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation among Fortune 500 CEOs confirm this idea establishing that 75% of long-term job success resulted from soft skills and only 25% from technical skills. Technical skills may get you the job but soft skills will determine your success. Soft skills are the difference between a job that gets done and a job that gets done exceedingly well

Soft skills ensure a productive, collaborative, and healthy work environment which are crucial to the smooth functioning of an organization in the competitive world. It gives way to increased employee satisfaction as employees feel valued and appreciated.

Your qualification or status will not help you if you do not positively interact with others. A person who is respectful and genuine will earn more respect than a person with high qualifications who is rude, harsh, and withdrawn. Technology is advancing. Artificial intelligence is taking over. As a result, hard skills have lost their importance and priority. soft skills are becoming the key differentiator in the workplace. People with soft skills have an upper hand now. As most tasks are becoming automated, traditional skills like teamwork, communication and, critical thinking will be more important than ever. A study by Deloitte Access Economics predicts that “Soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030”.

Soft skills are based on emotional intelligence. Soft skills cannot be automated. Computers cannot stimulate human interaction. Soft skills are always going to be in the limelight.

The development of soft skills is heavily dependent on experience. Putting oneself out there, increasing interactions with people, focusing on self - reflection, analyzing rather than memorizing and continuous practice are a few ways in which one can develop soft skills. Soft skills aren’t difficult to develop, they just require initial effort and consistency. These underrated skills don’t only make one a better employee but a better human being. Hard work pays off but soft skills pay off more. Soft skills are the future.


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