In today's rapidly evolving workplace, Irish employers are recognising the importance of soft skills alongside technical proficiency. Now, that’s not to say that these were skills that were ignored in the past, but there certainly seems to be more focus on them these days.
These are what some people might call "intangible attributes” or even "people skills" and to be quite honest, the latter has always seemed a rather ambiguous labeling. In fact, the term often leads introverted candidates to assume that they are skills that only sociable types possess.
But nothing could be further from the truth. While soft skills play a crucial role in determining an employee's ability to interact effectively with colleagues, manage projects, and contribute to a positive work environment, they are not all about having an outgoing personality.
Soft skills are more about how a person works rather than what they do or how outgoing they are.
Understanding Soft Skills
Soft skills, often referred to as interpersonal or people skills, encompass a wide range of personal attributes and social abilities that enable individuals to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform effectively, and achieve their goals.
Unlike technical skills or hard skills, which are about a person’s ability to perform specific job-related tasks, soft skills relate to a person's ability to communicate effectively, adapt to changes, solve problems creatively, exhibit emotional intelligence, and lead with empathy and understanding. These skills are less tangible and harder to quantify, but they significantly impact an individual’s performance in the workplace and their ability to contribute to a team.
Soft skills include, but are not limited to, effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, adaptability, problem-solving, leadership, and work ethic.
The Importance of Soft Skills in the Irish Job Market
Soft skills are hugely important for success in the workplace and are often what set candidates apart in a competitive job market. According to a LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report, 92% of hiring professionals identify soft skills as equally or more important than hard skills.
As the Irish job market continues to evolve, the demand for soft skills is expected to grow. According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, skills such as analytical thinking, creativity, and flexibility will be among the most sought-after by 2025. Employers are looking for these well-rounded candidates who can not only handle the job, but excel alongside their team members.
Now let’s take a look at what employers are looking for and yes, some of these will seem very much like common sense.
Top 10 Soft Skills Irish Hiring Managers Look for
Effective communication is essential; there’s no real surprise there. But it's not just about getting information across clearly, it’s also about listening and empathizing with others. Irish employers value employees who can articulate their thoughts clearly and build rapport with colleagues and clients alike. But don’t confuse this with a bubbly personality. Introverted people can also be good communicators, just perhaps a little more on the quiet side.
You have to be able to work well within a team, respect different viewpoints and collaborate with your colleagues. After all, a collaborative spirit fosters innovation and productivity, making teamwork a much sought-after skill.
If there’s one thing that is certain in your working life, it’s that every now and then a curveball is thrown your way. How you react and adapt to these unexpected obstacles can really set you apart from the masses. Employers want people who can pivot and embrace change whether it’s an unexpected one or simply a change to the status quo.
Critical thinking and the ability to approach challenges creatively are highly prized skills. These are the skills that can help you and your team deal with those curveballs we mentioned earlier. One misconception about this skill is that it’s related to technical skills or similar. But the truth is that problem solving can be and is used in just about every fact of working life. So yes, it’s very high on a recruiter’s list of desirable skills.
Believe it or not, leadership is not just for management positions. Irish employers value employees who can inspire and motivate their peers and take charge when necessary. And that goes for anyone at any level of seniority. A junior team member that can take the lead on a project or offer direction to the team is just as valuable as a manager that can do the same.
A strong work ethic, characterized by dedication, reliability, and a high level of professionalism, is nothing short of essential for any role in any company. Employers love this type of employee as they are committed to their work and consistently deliver high-quality results.
The ability to manage your time effectively, prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines, is everything. Productivity and efficiency go through the roof when you just know how to plan your time properly. This is also a major stress-reliever not only for the individual but the team as well.
Understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as recognizing and influencing the emotions of others, can have a massive impact on teamwork and leadership. This is because high emotional intelligence leads to better communication and conflict resolution. But this doesn’t mean keeping a lid on your emotions and bottling things up. It’s more about understanding why you are feeling a certain way and processing your emotions in the right way.
Thinking outside the box is such a cliche but you know what, it remains a hugely impressive character trait that all employers love to see. Innovation is everything in the workplace even if it’s just a tweaking of a simple process or a major shift in a project’s direction.
Resilience, or the ability to bounce back from setbacks, is critical in today’s workplace. Employers absolutely love employees who remain motivated and continue to perform well even when faced with challenges like those curveballs we keep mentioning. If you can laugh in the face of adversity, then you’ve got a good chance of landing that coveted role.
Whether you're entering the job market for the first time or looking to advance your career, developing these soft skills can have a significant impact on how employable you really are. If you’d like to learn more about job opportunities in Ireland or just want to chat about making a career change, we want to hear from you. So get in touch today and let’s see how your soft skills could impact your next move.