Over 2,000 mentors available, including leaders at Amazon, Airbnb, Netflix, and more. Check it out

Soft or Hard skills? What will make the difference in the future?

In this document, I share my views regarding the idea of hard skills versus soft skills; as well as stating my vision of what is the most important topic regarding the most important skill for the future.
Newton Queiroz

Chief Strategy Officer, Europ Assistance

There are many documents about the future of work, and I respect the view of different experts, but one point that some studies are missing is the fact of the 3 different generations we have today in the work force.

The crucial skills for the professional of tomorrow

How many people are discussing today what type of skills are needed for the future regarding our professional lives? Probably much more than what we imagine and this has created a run towards getting new knowledge and taking courses related to digital marketing, digital transformation, IT and other skills - be it soft or hard.

All efforts are focus in trying to stay at least at the line with the other professionals regarding skills needed to be in the labor force of today and tomorrow; and never before have we been bombarded with so many different theories and courses that offers the solution to all of our problems if we take them.

However, I also have seem the number of professionals (seeking new opportunities) that are getting frustrated since, they took many courses, updated their resume and still have not received the offer they were seeking for and are in much need of.

When I noticed that, I decided to do a self reflection and found that I also took many courses during the last 18 months related to many subjects, and while I am someone passionate about learning, some of the courses I took were to fell more aligned to what is being described a the new trend of tomorrow for professionals.

Having noticed this, I decided to seek what is the future work force to look like and came with my own view of the matter, which I share here - the professional of Today and the Future needs to be a well rounded individual with a particular strength in one of the following areas: communication (someone that can be an ambassador of ideas for the company and provide to others what they need to follow such idea with passion) / team player (a professional that is known as a DO ALL, meaning you can ask any sort of task and this person will find a way to deliver a consistent and accepted result) / specialist (professional with deep knowledge in a specific area of need to his/her industry).

What 'hard skills' and 'soft skills' really mean

Out of the 3 points mentioned, the third one is the hardest to obtain as our word is changing fast and the life cycle of a specialist is decreasing. therefore, if a person decides to be an specialist, he/she must be prepared to be continuously studying and reading market signals to be on top of the game. 

Having stated the above, let's quickly think about soft vs hard skills and what they mean; and here is where I want to call your attention to the fact that hard/soft a skill is a skill and the desire/need of such skill can change with time and fast. As such, to define a list is not the best option in my opinion and instead I suggest that you create your list of skills and after separate it into hard and soft; and then talk to friends and others to see which ones you are good at and the ones you should develop and how.

Now, and here comes the real point of this text, what I learned from all the analysis/study performed is that what we all need (personally and professionally) in today's world is ADAPTABILITY - this is the most important skill today and for the future - and do not confuse adaptability with the idea of accepting change.

Accepting change is being in peace with the new trend/view/other of your company, society or any aspect of your live; where having adaptability means accepting and adapting to such change in a way that you find your spot in these new scenario, and makes yourself a productive piece of this new scenario.

Adaptability in the workspace

Let's face it, change was already occurring fast and we just decided to ignore some of it for our own sake, but now we can't anymore and the result is - acceptance to change is not a choice is a reality, the real difference is can you adapt to it? And if yes, what is the best way to include yourself in the new scenario?

Once you are able to figure out the questions from the above paragraph, you will be able to always find a way to reconnect and keep moving forward positively. The point here is that this SKILL is neither hard/soft (the majority would say is a soft skill), instead of a SKILL the point of adaptability is a condition that some can develop faster than others, but there is a group that for as much as the try this is not normal to their nature and hence is not realistic to ask this of such person.

Here is where it lays our challenge as society, what/how can we transition such individuals (that are not adaptable) and find a place that they can be productive and satisfied with their work and life balance?

Find someone (or a group of people) that you can talk about such matters and be in constant contact to create a protection net that can be positively activated when needed.

Powered by Froala Editor

Find an expert mentor

Get the career advice you need to succeed. Find a mentor who can help you with your career goals, on the leading mentorship marketplace.