What the experts say - Australia

Australia is recognising the need for strong soft skills

Soft skills are defined as driving collaboration, emotional intelligence and communication – the things that facilitate interactions between people. The single most important soft skill is communication.

Technical (hard) skills and knowledge are essential for a business to do its job well, but organisations are finally realising that soft skills drive performance. Soft skills are the new drivers of business performance and growth.

LinkedIn reports that training for soft skills is the #1 priority for talent development in 2019.

Soft-skill intensive occupations are expected to account for two-thirds (63%) of all jobs in Australia by 2030, yet there is a significant skills shortage in the Australian market. If your staff can’t communicate, your company won’t win new business or maintain customers.

Australian soft skill trends...

Workers demand soft skills training

LinkedIn’s Future of Skills 2019 Report shows Australian employees believe their employers should be doing more to up-skill them, with one in three quitting their jobs due to insufficient access to learning and development opportunities.

Employees surveyed also feel they aren’t receiving relevant training in growing soft skills such as adaptability and flexibility.

Half of Australian workers (52%) think soft skills will be more important for their career.

ACS InformationAge

“We risk being left behind”

Why the $2.5 billion training gap is bad news for Aussie businesses.,.Australian businesses are underspending on training and risk falling behind international competitors if investment in human skills is not increased, economists have warned.

“[Investment] seems to be the wrong way around, particularly when a greater share of human capital in the workplace is really linked to these human skills,” Rumbens says....“There’s been a greater focus on investing in new technology … the best way to utilise new technology is also to invest in people skills at the same time.


Soft skills for business success

Australian workforce has a strong soft-skill base, yet demands for soft skills still exceeds supply by up to 45%. 

Soft-skill intensive occupations expected to account for two-thirds (63%) of all jobs in Australia by 2030, according to the report Soft skills for business success report by Deloitte Access Economics. company.

Deakin University

Nothing soft about the key skills

The Boston Consulting Group's global practice leader, digital and technology transformation in the public sector, Miguel Carrasco says of his own organisation: "We've always recruited for soft skills. Domain expertise is something you acquire over time by working in the same industry.

"The demand for expertise is as strong as ever so we won't see technical domain skills replaced by soft skills but perhaps what we're seeing in the broader economy is the elevation of some of the soft skills as not greater but of equal importance as other skills."

Australian Financial Review

The tech talent shortage is real 

With Australia requiring an extra 100,000 tech workers by 2024, Infosys’s VP of Australia and NZ, Ashok Mysore, said the ever-shifting technology landscape is making it harder to maintain a viable talent pool.

For Australia to be a competitive player in the world economy, our policymakers, businesses, workers and communities need to work better together to address the challenges of technology-related skills, investment and collaboration.”

ACS InformationAge

Technology is already replacing the need for some hard skills such as accounting, mathematics, administrative capabilities, and more. 

Instead, the future workplace will require workers to have essential soft skills including critical thinking, adaptability, cultural understanding, and a self-starting drive to innovate and learn. 

This will help them acquire and use hard skills as needed, then pivot to new skills as the workforce and technologies continue to evolve.

Inside small business 

CEOs agree they need to strengthen the soft skills of employees

The task of retraining talent goes beyond digital upskilling with 87% of Australia’s CEOs agreeing or strongly agreeing that they need to strengthen the soft skills of employees alongside their digital skills.

Australia’s CEOs recognise this ongoing reskilling responsibility (54%, versus 67% of CEOs globally) and agree that they have a responsibility to retrain employees whose tasks and jobs are automated by technology. Change is here and 75% of Australia’s CEOs (and 79% globally) are concerned about the availability of key skills. 

PwC Australia

Hard questions on soft skills

By 2030, soft skill intensive occupations are predicted to make up almost two thirds of all Australian jobs (up from just over half in 2000). 

Employer demand for soft skills is reportedly increasing and research indicates that shortages already exist in the Australian workforce.

Deloitte Australia

Insufficient training is causing employees to quit 

Insufficient training is causing one in three employees to quit, according to LinkedIn, which also identified a “misalignment” between employers and workers on their approach to professional development. 

The professional networking platform surveyed 1,033 Australian employees and 217 development professionals)  learning and development (L&D) professionals across Australia, India, Japan and Singapore.