Why Soft Skills

What the global experts say


Soft skill development is a global phenomenon

A UK report in 2015 found that by 2020, over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by a lack of soft skills. The same report also found that soft skills contributed £88 billion to the UK economy at time of publication  – with this expected to increase to £109 billion during the next five years.

So critical was the need for a soft skills developed workforce that Tesco, McDonalds and a range of public institutions created the "backing soft skills" campaign to increase awareness and promote the need for soft skills development across the UK. Statistics from the US and across the globe support the growing need for humans soft skills in our increasingly technology-dependent world. In Australia and across the planet, soft Skills are the new drivers of business performance and growth.

Global soft skill Insights...

Soft skills key for a successful career

The soft skills needed to succeed in business, regardless of industry, are constantly evolving, which means that the skills required to secure a fantastic job in 2015 are not the same skills needed to succeed in 2020....By widening your repertoire of skills you are safeguarding your future career.

Large global organisations such as Google, EY, Costco, Whole Foods, Hilton, Apple, Starbucks and IBM no longer require a degree for their roles

Soft skills are fundamental to global business relations - Contributor Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer – Infosys.

Soft skills that emphasize collaboration emerged higher than individual skills and are just as important as technical prowess.  There is not just a talent war – it’s a famine. To succeed, companies must hire, develop, and retain talent better than their competition. As enterprises progress in their digital journeys, the winners will be those who utilize multiple hiring sources and reskill workers in a culture of lifelong learning – invest in their people, who are the ultimate differentiator in a commoditized world. 


A recent study by Gallup showed that companies failed to hire managers with the rights skills - 82% of the time!

That’s a daunting statistic. Leaders who are ill-equipped to motivate and inspire employees will certainly struggle to understand when they are abusing technology’s benefits.

Companies need to overhaul their recruitment and interviewing practices to assess both professional skills and soft skills. Leaders need ongoing training and coaching to achieve high performance work cultures. Training is not an annual one time only event, it is a process. Learning never ends and leaders are never done growing.



A CIO makes a soft but firm change

Exhibit A is the CTO of a Fortune 5 company whom I’ve worked closely with. In the past five years, this leader has sponsored no tech-oriented, hard-skills training. None. However, he has invested significantly in helping his people develop the skills to be consultative influencers across the organization. He has provided training in negotiation, marketing, leadership, and more...His people are keeping up their technical skills on their own: They understand the value, and they understand how to do it. But what he needs is an organization that can do more than deliver technical excellence. He needs a mature IT organization that elevates its game to become a trusted partner. 

Soft skills are critical for career success, even in tech

Success = 85% soft skills and 15% hard skills
Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center have all concluded that 85 per cent of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15 per cent of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).


Soft skills training brings substantial returns on investment - both companies and workers benefit.

They found that a 12-month soft skills training program that focused on communication, problem solving and decision-making, time and stress management, financial literacy, legal literacy and social entitlements, and execution excellence delivered substantial returns.

Skills shortage holding back Australian businesses

A serious skills shortage is hampering business growth and opportunity in Australia with new research finding that Small to Medium Businesses (SMEs) cannot find the right staff to grow their company.

  • 48% of SMEs believe there is a clear skills shortage in their sector.
  • 68% of Australian SMEs worry Australia isn’t properly training our workers.

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.


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."

Be selfless - invest in yourself

According to Editor of HRM magazine Amanda Woodward: "It will be important to have a portfolio of skills, and investing in ourselves and our development will be crucial to being employed, and living the lives we want. Keeping pace with changing technology will be crucial to this, but so will the soft skills that robots can't do: these will be increasingly sought after."

The real skills gap

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center has concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills). This research finds its beginning with the work of Charles Riborg Mann from a Study of Engineering Education in 1918. There is a span of almost 100 years since Mann published his findings. But, what have we done with this information learned so long ago?

Google tests its hiring hypothesis

In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998.

The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

Jobs are changing and we need a huge shift in education

Anything that is routine or repetitive will be automated,” said Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics, in a session on Saving Economic Globalization from Itself. She also spoke of the importance of “the soft skills, creative skills. Research skills, the ability to find information, synthesise it, make something of it.”

Why soft skills matter

When it comes to taking soft skills seriously training should be top of the agenda for a business that wants to promote individual and organisational excellence. Training and continued personal development are at the core of EY’s values, and while hard skills are developed through the firm’s professional qualifications, on-the-job training and global learning curriculum, soft skills are given equal attention through schemes such as mentoring, coaching and counselling (career development and performance reviews).

11 Essential Soft Skills Every Great Communicator Should Have.

While every great communicator has their own style, all of them have a few core traits in common. We asked a panel of Forbes Communications Council members to share the most important soft skills expert communicators must possess.

Soft skills are in high demand across the world. Why not up-skill yourself today? View our range of fast, practical soft skills courses.