Donna's Blog

Soft Skills are the new black

Professional services firm, Ernst & Young UK recently announced that having a graduate degree was no longer on the list of pre-requisites to be considered for employment.  Their rationale was that a degree was no indication of skill, knowledge or ability.


I have worked with professional services firms for years in various learning and development capacities.  There was always a war between "hard" and "soft" skills and that hard, or technical skills training was always given more budget and time and was valued higher.  So called "soft skills" how to get along nicely with the people that you work with, was always valued lower.  This always amazed me as I reckon "soft skills" were the hardest work anyone does in an organisation.  How we interact, influence, support, give feedback etc, is harder than knowing a formula , process or theory to get something completed.


Is this a strong move towards the future of work and the nature of Forever Skills?  Given that accounting is high on the list of  things that can be automated or that AI can overtake, technical skill becomes less important, and forever skills learned through extra curricular activities and life, become more critical to the future of work.  An archaeologist in the past may not have had a look in at a consulting or professional services organisation, and yet it is one of the professions on the list for skills that cannot be reproduced by AI.


It's not easy to predict the work of the future and what jobs or roles we need to be preparing for, and yet we will always be people working with people, and therefore the human skills that are not replicable by AI will become more and more important for the future of work.


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