Why the rise of AI calls for a renewed focus on soft skills in the workplace

16 May Why the rise of AI calls for a renewed focus on soft skills in the workplace

We know the importance of soft skills in the workplace, but why do recruiters need to be on the lookout for these skills? With jobs under threat due to the rise of Artificial Intelligence, soft skills will help employees stay one step ahead of the machines. Savvy HR leaders need to know what soft skills exceptional candidates should possess in the age of machines.

While being creative and innovative are crucial for the modern-day workforce, the rise in AI calls for a renewed focus on soft skills to help future-proof careers.

According to The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Future of Jobs study, up to 5 million jobs could be disrupted or lost all together within the next few years as a result of AI, robotics and broader labour market changes.

However, human skills, often referred to as emotional intelligence or soft skills, are highly valued by employers and are difficult for robots to genuinely replace. So, what are some of the important soft skills that you can look out for during the interview process?

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication: The ability to communicate effectively is a skill to continuously nurture. Good communication is an asset that transcends industries and should be continually developed as your career progresses. Test the candidates verbal and non-verbal communication skills to see how candidates will interact with managers, colleagues and customers.
  • Flexibility: In a fast-moving business world that lacks certainty, employers place importance on a person’s ability to be flexible and adaptable. Being comfortable with change is critical to effectively navigate potentially unforeseen circumstances. HR leaders can implement situational questions into the recruiting process to see how candidates respond and adapt to new and developing situations.
  • Empathy: Empathy is an essential soft skill that helps people get along in the workplace. This is a skill that is very unlikely to be replaced by machines and is proven to assist in negotiation and teamwork. Candidates should be able to put aside their point of view to consider the perspectives of others which requires active listening and paying attention to the needs of others.

Robots won’t be able to replace the human components of work duties. By emphasising soft skills during the recruitment process, candidates will know what they need to focus on to stay one step ahead of the machines and robots in our future workplace.


[1] http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf