What are soft skills?
“What powers economic growth? It’s not technology – technology is a raw material. What makes human beings unique is one thing – creativity. All else are subsets.” Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class.
There are many different definitions for soft skills – which is potentially a problem in its own right. But generally they are the skills that fall in the gap between technical skills, experience and academic ability - a combination of creative thinking, interpersonal skills, common sense, attitudes, social intelligence, work ethic and communication skills.
For some it is about the ability to problem solve and for others, soft skills help employees navigate the grey area that is ‘expected behaviour’ in and beyond the workplace.
One thing that most people will agree on is that they are emerging as one of the critical factors for success in 21st century business in the Middle East. With the backdrop of increasing globalisation and disruption from digital technology, and with the rapid advancement and adoption of AI and automation changing the nature of the workplace, soft skills are under the spotlight more than ever. In fact, calling them ‘soft’ is doing those skills a massive injustice, as they are at the hard edge of business life.