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7 job-ready soft skills you need today

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What are soft skills?

Soft skills have always been critical to career success, but their relevance in the world of work is ever evolving. These skills are now universally required no matter what industry you’re working in. In a world where digital transformation are happening faster than ever, it’s important to be able to make yourself stand out with the relevant soft skills that employers are looking for. According to Deloitte Access Economics, soft-skill intensive occupations are expected to account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. 

In our latest Salary Guide, we saw that 36 per cent of employees have developed their soft skills to improve their career prospects. With jobs and skills in demand constantly evolving, employers look for jobseekers who have the soft skills required to succeed and adapt successfully in the workplace.

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Job ready soft skills

Being ahead of the curve by developing the essential soft skills employers’ value will help you stand out to employers, both now and in the future.

After all, organisations are composed of people and their working relationships, meaning soft skills will stay important in the future world of work. 

When you combine these important soft skills with relevant technical skills, you’ll have a solid base to future-proof your career in the years ahead.

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Soft skills development: How to improve soft skills

Once you’ve identified what soft skills you may need to work on or add to your repertoire, determine your upskilling plan.

There is a wealth of free online learning programs available for soft skills training, such as taking online courses, watching video tutorials or seminars, listening to podcasts and reading. You can access learning material on these soft skills on our website as well.

It’s also advisable to work with a trusted mentor or friend. To be a good mentee and get the most out of the experience, meet regularly, have a clear purpose, be receptive to your mentor’s advice, talk through challenges, successes and failures, and plan next steps.

Next, practice. Look for opportunities to implement your advancing soft skills in the workplace. Take on a task outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself and use your new skills often.

Finally, refine your skills. Ask your boss or a trusted colleague for honest feedback to ensure you have made progress developing your soft skills.

Once you feel more confident in each of the above soft skills, make sure you update your resume and cover letter accordingly. Be ready to discuss and articulate in job interviews how you have developed your skills, providing examples of the quantifiable results achieved as a result.

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Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Soft skills define how well you work with others. Regardless of how strong your technical skills are, if you are unpleasant to colleagues, unwilling to collaborate, fail to communicate, unable to solve problems and can’t adapt to change, you’ll find it difficult to do well at work.

Soft skills play a big role in your career success, so you should prioritise developing them.

When it comes to soft skills in the workplace, certain qualities, attributes and traits are valued above others.

While there are countless examples of soft skills, such as conflict resolution, strong communication skills, and strong work ethic, based on our conversations with employers we know that the following seven important soft skills are the skills that employers want.

These are the soft skills employers want in their workplace, so upskill in these areas if required and prove your soft skills to a potential employer in an interview. 

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Skills Advice


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Communication skills

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Critical thinking skills

Enhance your ability to make logical and informed decisions.

Interpersonal skills

Learn how to collaborate and communicate to achieve outcomes.

Presentation skills

Listen to the podcast to learn how to give a presentation that will impress the c-suite.

Problem solving skills

Understand what it takes to solve problems effectively.

Soft skills

Find out what 7 essential soft skills you need today to impress the hiring manager.

Teamwork skills

Discover how to develop great teamwork skills in the workplace.

Time management skills

Learn how to collaborate and communicate to achieve outcomes.

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7 essential soft skills in demand

1. Teamwork

With effective teamwork, teams are more productive, deadlines are met, relationships with your team members are stronger and knowledge is shared. It makes the workplace a better place to be in. If you work well in a team, you achieve common goals while supporting and complementing the strengths of others.

Employees with strong teamwork skills keep their team’s objectives in mind, understand their own individual responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of all team members, are supportive and positive, communicate regularly and actively listen to others. Find out how to develop your teamwork skills.

2. Problem solving

No matter how smooth of a workplace we have, hurdles will appear, which is why knowing how to work towards the best possible solution to new and complex problems will ensure more successful outcomes.

Effective problem solvers identify the real problem being faced, are diligent in researching the situation and processes behind the problem, understand all the complexities, then draw on their critical thinking to brainstorm possible solutions and determine the best possible resolution. Find out how to develop your problem solving skills.

3. Communication

This soft skill is one you hear about often, and for good reason. Good communication skills means you are able to actively listen to, and understand other perspectives, while also being able to share your own effectively. Good communicators are skilled at verbal and written communication, while they also understand non-verbal communication cues.

For example, strong communicators know their audience, stick to the point, use clear and concise language and are empathetic. They are aware of how their body language and tone of voice convey their message. Find out how to develop your communication skills.

4. Adaptability

Just as you need good problem-solving skills to resolve the constant stream of challenges occurring in our fast-paced world of work, you also need the ability to adapt in the face of change. Not everyone can naturally cope in a positive way when faced with change, so being able to quickly and successfully adapt to it is a core soft skill.  

If you’re adaptable, you’ll make sure to completely understand an impending change and keep an open mind. You’ll look for opportunities in the change and plan the practical actions needed to adopt or perform differently as a result of the change. You’ll be able to focus on the positives and you’re not afraid to step outside of your comfort zone to establish a new routine. Find out how to develop your adaptability skills.

5. Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills are valued in the workplace because they allow you to effectively analyse information given to you and make informed decisions. Through this, you can form successful plans, perform efficiently, take advantage of opportunities and always respond rationally to situations and challenges.

Find out how to develop your critical thinking skills.

6. Time management 

Knowing how to effectively manage your time at work helps you take control of your day and alleviate the stress that can come with not knowing how to prioritise your day-to-day tasks. With only so many hours in the working day, time management is a process whereby you intentionally allocate your time productively and effectively. This ensures you achieve all your most important and urgent tasks, without having to work extended hours, to the benefit of your employer, team and career.

Those who excel at time management work with team members to prioritise what is genuinely urgent and important, schedule their days to allocate time to the most essential tasks, then stay committed to their plan – all while retaining a level of flexibility in case priorities shift. Find out how to develop your time management skills.

7. Interpersonal

Interpersonal skills are those that allow you to build relationships and communicate well with others. They are the behaviours you use every day to interact and get along with people and so underpin positive working relationships.

Those with strong interpersonal skills are active listeners and have a high level of emotional intelligence. They can resolve conflict, communicate well and collaborate effectively to maintain mutually beneficial working relationships. They enjoy rewarding professional relationships. Find out how to develop your interpersonal skills.

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Other useful soft skills

Conflict management

Conflict is almost certain to happen in the workplace as there are bound to be disagreements across projects. Being able to settle disputes quickly and effectively is an important skill to pick up for your career.


This soft skill goes hand-in-hand with other ones such as dependability and work-ethic. Making yourself a dependable resource for other team members means you become an integral and well-liked part of your team.


Building your leadership capabilities is something that will come along with improving your communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. It is also helpful to have a leader you admire to talk to about learning leadership skills.

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Free online learning courses with Hays Learning

If you are looking to improve your soft skills, Hays Learning is our online learning platform covering technical and soft skills. With Hays Learning, you can access a range of free online learning courses, including courses on these sought-after soft skills. Get started today?