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Soft Skills or Power Skills?

I recently stumbled upon an article by Josh Bersin where he challenges the concept of “soft skills” because they aren’t soft at all – “they’re highly complex, take years to learn and always changing in their scope.”

McKinsey also reports that the need for “soft” skills is on the rise as we rely more and more on artificial intelligence for more basic tasks. In this report, over the next 10 years, work hours are expected to focus more on higher cognitive skills (8% increase), social and emotional skills (24% increase and technological skills (55% increase). This means that there will be a huge demand for people who are creative, can think critically and dealing with complexity.

Forbes identified emotional intelligence, creativity, adaptability, data literacy and “tech-savviness” as the top five skills needed for the future. Inc. says that emotional intelligence will be a required skill for knowledge workers. In a LinkedIn article, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence were identified as the top five social skills.

As machines continue to take on the more mundane and repetitive tasks, work that requires uniquely human skills will remain. Being able to adapt to change, communicate with varied audiences, collaborate and influence, and demonstrate empathy for the people around you are critical power skills for individuals and companies to thrive in the coming decades.

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