Soft Skills Critical for Success – upskilling the workforce of the future

Feb 09, 2023

According to recent research by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by DeakinCo. ‘Soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030’ understanding what these skills are and determining how we assess and develop for them is critical now.

New graduates are entering the workforce without the skills needed to navigate the business environment. They are highly technology savvy, they have curated their experiences and skills to present themselves as the perfect candidate and they are clearly intelligent and have great potential.

Years of being conditioned to learn a certain way and to produce a certain type of output, exacerbated by remote learning and remote work, and University experiences that are also part time and remote; has led to people entering the workforce without the uniquely human skills needed to navigate human relationships at work.

These are the skills that robots are uniquely human. According to Bernard Marr who wrote an article for Forbes Top 16 Essential Soft Skills For The Future Of Work (; these are the 16 soft skills essential for business success:

  1. Critical thinking – evidence-based decision making
  2. Judgement and complex decision making – ability to understand the wider impact of decisions
  3. Emotional intelligence and empathy – being aware of our own emotions and being able to control them; being aware of the emotions of others
  4. Creativity – imagination, dreaming in the generation of new thinking and ideas
  5. Collaboration and teamwork – being able to work well with others
  6. Interpersonal communication skills – being able to listen to others, understand their perspective and communicate your ideas
  7. Working in the gig economy environment – being able to navigate the flexibility of employment in the future
  8. Adaptability and flexibility – being adaptable to the changing environment and having a mindset that is open
  9. Cultural intelligence and diversity consciousness – being able to relate to people from other backgrounds in producing good work outcomes
  10. Ethical awareness – being able to think critically about the impact of technology on work as it pertain to customers, employees and other stakeholders
  11. Leadership – leading yourself and others within and from the top of organisations
  12. Relationship building and managing your brand – being able to build relationships online and in person and managing your reputation within this network
  13. Time management – becoming effective and efficient in how we manage work (and limit distractions)
  14. Curiosity and continuous learning – having a growth mindset and being open to learning personally and professionally
  15. Celebrating and embracing change -being adaptable in accepting and managing change as it happens
  16. Looking after yourself - being dialled into yourself to the extent that you make decisions that are right for your wellbeing, mental and physical

In considering what this means for how we interview/ assess and develop people; we have determined that these 16 skills can be distilled into 5 key themes namely:

  1.  Inner world / Self
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Looking after yourself
  1.  Mindset
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Curiosity and continuous learning
  • Celebrating and embracing change
  1.  Global Citizenship
  • Working in the gig economy environment
  • Cultural intelligence and diversity consciousness
  • Ethical awareness
  1.  Interpersonal Communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Relationship building and managing your brand
  1.  Managing Complexity
  • Critical thinking
  • Judgement and complex decision making
  • Creativity
  • Time management

In designing interview guides and processes, each of these 5 areas need to be explored.

Consider more group-based interview scenarios such as a mix of psychometric tools and coaching debriefs, working groups and panel presentations and storytelling as a means of assessing for the above 5 critical areas of soft skills.

Consider the weighting you give to technical skills and soft skills and what will make the biggest difference to your organisation.

There was a time that we could rely on people arriving into the workforce with people skills, and we had to test for technical aptitude, now is the time to assume technical aptitude (and to confirm this through assessment) but, the weighting should shift to testing for interpersonal skills as we build our workforces for the future.

Cult of Monday is a People Consultancy. We work with businesses to create Mondays that people love. Soft skills and their development makes all the difference to how we lead and to how we show up. Our program Connect – communicating and connecting in non-technical ways is designed especially for people who are new to their careers and need support navigating this new world of work. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you develop your people.