The six most sought-after soft skills you need to succeed

A solid base of these soft-skills can help you rise above the pack and future-proof your career.

The criteria for highly-skilled jobs is shifting, with employers assigning more weight to soft skills and cultural fit. Few job seekers promote these soft skills on their CVs and in interviews, according to Hays Recruitment, despite the demand.

“The world of work changes rapidly,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

“Digital innovation is altering the way we operate and the skills we need,” he says. “Employers are updating selection criteria accordingly with new soft skills joining communication and organisation as essential for today’s job seekers.

Here are the top six most commonly requested soft skills, according to Hays’ Quarterly Report October-December 2017.

1. Willingness to learn

This includes self-education, such as listening to webinars and podcasts, and keeping an eye on the competition and customer feedback. Social media use can enable this, too, with following relevant topics and recommending articles to colleagues favourable, too.

“As changes occur in your industry, you must have the self-awareness needed to spot any new gaps in your skills and knowledge, and seek to bridge them,” says Deligiannis.

2. Customer focus

Businesses today are steered by customers and the way in which their consumption patterns and choices evolve. “Technology changes consumer behaviour, and organisations require employees who are in-tune with these changes,” he says.

3. Adaptability

Be it organisational, technological or skills-based, the jobs of today are in a constant state of flux. “We don’t know what those changes will be,” says Deligiannis.

“Employers want people who can move out of their comfort zone and see change as an opportunity for growth and innovation.”

4. Interpersonal and communication skills

Learning and adapting to change, and understanding customers mean nothing if you’re unable to communicate this knowledge to others. Employers still require jobseekers who possess exceptional communication skills and are comfortable speaking with people at all levels of an organisation in a professional manner.

5. Respect for the ideas of others

Collaboration and diversity of thought in the workplace encourages more innovative solutions to problems at hand. “Keep the debate on-task and professional,” advises Deligiannis.

6. Organisational skills

These remain a focus, as employers are still looking for new recruits who can effectively organise their time to ensure productivity is maximised, deadlines are met, resources are coordinated and no details are missed.


“When combined with digital literacy and relevant technical skills, a solid soft-skills base will future-proof your career in the years ahead,” Deligiannis concludes.


Further reading

Ben Ice
BY Ben Ice ON 11 October 2017
  • David Pearce

    Good Article,

    Ask any hiring manager why
    most people fail and they will invariably chalk it up to weak “soft skills”
    rather than a lack of the technical qualifications. This is not because the technical abilities are not important. It is simply due to the fact that soft
    skills are primarily natural to the person whereas the technical abilities can
    be learned. I have noticed
    more and more over the last couple of years that hiring managers are using our
    tests to evaluate candidates for many non-sales roles. I believe this is a very
    healthy development as it will reduce job turnover and increase the likelihood
    that the new employee will succeed.