Today, it is not enough to have technical skills, soft skills are just as important, says Aravind Kumar Rajendran
In the age of Artificial Intelligence where machines are becoming intelligent to do things humans can and can’t, cloning their way to quasi humans, time has come for geeks and technical wizards to become human. Again.
The adage rings true today: We have grown too far from the roots that we have forgotten where we came from.
This explains what Infosys Knowledge Institute, an Infosys Research arm, found: Soft skills are just as important as technical skills: teamwork, leadership, communication, creativity and critical thinking. Well, this information comes from the horse’s mouth itself. This survey sought opinions from 1,000 decision makers from companies that brought in $1 billion in annual revenue.
In fact, in a Wall Street Journal survey of 900+ executives, 92 per cent reported soft skills such as communication, curiosity, and critical thinking are equally important as technical skills. Also, 89 per cent of those executives stated they have a difficult time finding hires with these skills.
Why Soft Skills?
Here’s a fact. It’s a small world today. Anyone can talk to anyone else from any geography with varied cultural heritage within minutes and what’s more they can work together sans boundaries. Geek talk is all well and good, but unlike machines humans need warmth, understanding and diplomacy to wade through such complicate time zone culture issues. That’s where soft skills announce its grand entry. It smoothens nerves, fire-fights ego tantrums, allows one to given another a sympathetic ear eventually fostering a well knit unit of good people doing good work. Of course, the firm benefits.
Which soft skills employers value the most?
Teamwork. The more the better; anything helps. In today’s interconnected world where multitude domains work together to bring about a final product having each other's back is a bare minimum attitude that an employee definitely looks for.
Empathy. If this becomes the core ideal of an employee with the requisite talent in her or his subject matter, you are looking at a future leader.
Leadership skills. Yes, leadership skills are as important. In fact, today’s demand is not just the expectation of amazing leadership from leaders, but from each and every individual who forms the workforce. Taking ownership without being prompted, holding oneself accountable without a warning sounded and to be ever ready with initiatives that will propel growth in an organisation, are the traits that are required of the new-age professional.
The writer is CEO of Academic Initiatives, KGiSL Institute of Technology