The pandemic and the new hybrid work norms have had an impact on the skills companies are looking for. And while soft skills have always been considered important at the workplace, the pandemic has redefined what it means for businesses to have talent who possess these in the same amount as technical skills.
Most companies are increasingly looking for workers that are considered "creative" and have a “growth mindset” at their jobs, reveals research by job site Indeed.
A "growth mindset" is the soft skill with the highest rise in demand in the last two years, with a 194% jump between April 2020 to April 2022. This is usually defined as a professional's penchant to develop his capabilities through dedication and hard work, with learning always a part of the process, and that resilience is critical to achieving results.
The second soft skill with the highest growth is "Creativity", which increased 72% in the last two years. At work, creativity is the ability to think about a task or a problem in a new or different way or to use imagination to generate new ideas, says the research.
Soft skills are personality traits and behaviours. Unlike technical or ‘hard’ skills, they are not about the knowledge you possess but the behaviours you display in different situations.
Due to the slowdown led by the pandemic, enterprises and startups are at an aggressive growth stage where hiring the right talent is critical. The research noted that soft skills provide the differentiation in a large and equally qualified talent pool that gives businesses the edge in innovation and growth.
“Amidst the pandemic, businesses realised two imperatives to thrive in a volatile environment. The first is, of course, the need for digital innovation to stay ahead of the curve. But second and perhaps more important is a talent pool with the right skill sets to lead the changes in a dynamic ecosystem. Skills like a growth mindset, critical thinking, creativity and autonomy have become the key determinants of aggressive organisational growth and success,” said Saumitra Chand, Career expert, Indeed.
The search for employees with "critical thinking" -- the ability to make informed decisions by evaluating several different sources -- and “autonomy” -- being able to plan and work in the way that is most conducive to their own best performance -- also grew by 45% in the last two years, rounding out the top four skills.
Interestingly, persuasion (-6%) and public speaking (-12%) saw a degrowth during the same time period, highlighting that these skills were not at the forefront for employers.
“Because these are often innate personality traits, job seekers already possess several marketable soft skills that might help them get and be successful in a job. Though many are formed with one's personality, soft skills can also be learned and developed with practice and experience,” added Chand.
According to Indeed’s platform data, the Indian labour market is witnessing a positive momentum as new job postings in India are seeing a record high number.
New job postings in July 2022 saw over 40.5% growth above the pre-pandemic baseline (February 2020). This showcases the increase in demand for hiring across several industries.
As companies continue to hire, soft skills will play a key role in talent acquisition, the research stressed.