When it comes to job applications, many people believe that technical proficiency is the be-all and end-all. However, what most fail to realize is that nowadays, soft skills are just as essential — if not even more so (with the advent of large AI models) — than hard skills.
In its recent survey, Michael Page polled 1,000 UK hiring managers to gain insight into the skills they were seeking in prospective employees.
Employers seek strong communicators
Effective communication has been identified as the most in-demand skill among managers (35 percent) when seeking new hires.
Does it sound too plain? Well, it’s not just about confident speaking and effective writing. Communication includes a wide range of abilities, such as active listening, great presentation skills, negotiation and persuasion, or understanding people from diverse backgrounds.
In fact, hiring managers of all ages consider communication one of the top two in-demand soft skills. And if we look closer at recruiters in individual industries, a recent study reveals that communication is the most sought-after skill in transportation (79.5 percent), finance (74.3 percent), and pharmaceuticals (73.9 percent).
Are you an enthusiastic team player and lifelong learner? The job is yours
Leaders would also like to see you willing to learn (34 percent) and work well with others (33 percent). And you should certainly do these with enthusiasm (30 percent), cited as the number four in-demand soft skill.
What’s particularly noteworthy is that only 21 percent of 25-34-year-old hiring managers value teamwork as a top skill. In contrast, 45-65-year-old bosses rank it as their number one in-demand ability.
And what about enthusiasm? Employers know that an enthusiastic outlook can make all the difference in the workplace. Some managers are willing to forgo hiring a lackluster worker with top qualifications. Instead, they prefer to train an eager and inexperienced person with the right attitude.
The least popular skills: Chattiness & selflessness
The overall ranking didn’t go well for chattiness and selflessness. Only 10 percent of respondents consider these skills important.
While being a good communicator can help build relationships, an excessively chatty person may come across as self-absorbed, disregarding the needs and feelings of others.
On the other hand, while selflessness is a highly admirable trait, some employers may view it as a weakness. It could lead to a lack of assertiveness and difficulty in making tough decisions.
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