As the global business environment changes with an emphasis towards collaboration of individual skills, employers are increasingly looking beyond academic grades and qualifications to figure out the skills possessed by candidates. Cognitive skills in subjects like mathematics, science, and English have been used as the benchmark for selection process. However, a recent report by The Hamilton project outlines the rise of non-cognitive soft skills that are used to improve communication between colleagues at the workplace, foster collaboration, and motivate people. While not everyone may possess these skills, the good news is that they can be taught. There’s a real need to develop these skills, not only to increase employability, but also because they have a direct impact on the jobs market for economic reasons.
Increasing demand for non-cognitive skills
In a globalised economy where teams are located in remote geographical locations, the demand for non-cognitive skills that foster smooth collaborations and communications between team members becomes an essential skill set for each employee. This demand did not exist in 1980s and 90s when organizations still followed a local workforce structure. But as things changed, the demand for social skills has risen by 16 percent while the demand for cognitive skills in subjects like mathematics has witnessed a rise of only 5 percent.
Increase in rewards for non-cognitive skills
Recent reports have indicated that there’s a direct relation between non-cognitive skills and the rewards offered by employers. Not only that, employees who possess a balanced set of cognitive and non-cognitive soft skills tend to earn even higher. This clearly shows that the role of non-cognitive skills in the workplace is not only in demand, but is also fruitful for the organization as well as the employee, since without being able to deliver a clear value from such skills, the employees will be redundant for the business.
Non-cognitive skills and full-time employment
According to the report by The Hamilton project, not only do non-cognitive skills help increase the value of the employee for the organization leading to higher salaries, it also helps increase the probability of finding full-time employment. While it seems unsurprising as employers flock towards talent pools that possess these skills, but the data in the report also indicates how these soft skills have evolved and become an integral part of conducting business.
Fewer non-cognitive skills are not good
The Hamilton Project’s report also indicates that there’s a direct relation between non-cognitive skills and educational qualification earned by a candidate. Research also shows that those with high non-cognitive skills also go on to complete higher education. As a result, employees who possess higher education qualifications but do not possess soft skills are not as suitable to lead in an organization than those who possess non-cognitive skills.
Some leading organizations have already taken the plunge and started developing hiring programs that measure and reward non-cognitive skills more than cognitive skills in candidates. Organizations like Ernst & Young, and IBM have developed in-house programs that assess and select candidates on their soft skill instead of marking them higher on their educational qualifications. These programs have been designed to take into account creativity, emotional intelligence, and above all people management as the most critical skills required in the workplace in 2020. So it would be prudent to say that if you do not possess these skills already, start now because that’s what you’ll need to succeed in the future.