In order to do your job effectively, you need hard skills: the technical know-how and subject-specific knowledge to fulfil your responsibilities. But in a forever-changed world of work, lesser-touted ‘soft skills’ may be just as important ­– if not even more crucial.

These skills are more nuanced, even low-profile: think personal characteristics and behaviours that make a strong leader or a good team member. Especially amid the normalisation of remote work, where collaboration and the ways to innovate have changed, companies are beginning to catch on to the importance of these intangibles when building out diverse, successful teams.

As a result, employers are increasingly considering a candidate’s soft skills as closely as their experience and explicit technical specialties, say experts.

For some workers, some soft skills are innate – personality traits that make someone a naturally good communicator or analytical thinker. But for others, developing and honing soft skills can be more challenging. Yet it is possible for every worker to develop and hone these characteristics as well as learn how to show them off. And that, say experts, is something we should all be doing…..

The same skills that enable workers to operate successfully within company hierarchy and rise to the top also breed successful interpersonal relationships

….A notable shift

As many of the highly technical parts of work are becoming increasingly automated, or replaced by technological tools, companies are instead looking for workers who can problem-solve, juggle larger responsibilities and work well with others. The ongoing labour shortage also has organisations focused on longevity: employees who have the interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence to grow into leadership positions offer a lot more value.