What’s the most in-demand job skill right now? The answer may surprise you.

What’s the most in-demand job skill right now? The answer may surprise you.

No, it’s not coding, computer, tech or other hard skills.

The No. 1 skill set companies are looking for right now is – soft skills.

Here’s 3 reasons why:

As automation and artificial intelligence make millions of jobs obsolete, the jobs that will remain will require soft skills.

Experts say that most jobs that require hard skills will gradually be automated and done by AI. An Oxford University study predicts, for example, that as much as 47% of jobs in the US will be gone in 20 years.

The jobs that will remain for people, because AI cannot do them, are jobs that require soft skills like interpersonal communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, leadership, teamwork and collaboration. In fact, a Deloitte study predicts that 2/3 of jobs in Australia will rely on soft skills by 2030.

Soft skills equal job success and business success.

Harvard, Stanford and the Carnegie Foundation said it first: 85% of job success depends on having well-developed soft skills, and only 15% on technical/hard skills.

Google, in its own study, found that of the 8 most important qualities in employees, technical expertise came in last; all the top 7 are soft skills (communication, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, etc).

Forbes magazine says the same thing: If you want to hire the best people, make soft skills a top priority. And it makes sense, right? Workers with excellent soft skills like empathy, communication, critical thinking, leadership are more likely to work hard, be goal-oriented, work well with others, deal better with customers, and are more able to work on their own, with minimal supervision.

The biggest skills gap in the job market is soft skills.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said it, and most HR managers, analysts and experts agree. Soft skills are in demand because they are in scarce supply. For example, a LinkedIn study across 100 metropolitcan cities in the US found a shortage of 1.4 million individuals who can communicate effectively with others.

In short, soft skills like listening, collaborating, presenting ideas, empathy, and keeping customers happy, are all highly valued and sought-after in the 21st century workplace.

What’s the lesson here?
It means: Having well-developed soft skills gives you a distinct advantage and puts you one step ahead of the competition.

And if you haven’t, then don’t waste any more time on Youtube or online games. Invest your time, money and effort to brush up and acquire top-notch soft skills to make you really stand out. There’s lots of online courses on soft skills and personal development, some free, some you have to pay for. Some websites, like American English, will even give you a free assessment on what soft skills you need to develop and how.