More Flexibility: the Soft Skills of Tomorrow

Who will companies in Germany be looking for in ten years? It’s employees who can “switch” technically and culturally. They must be cross-thinking and acting instead of being focused too deep in only one professionalism. That’s the result of a study published last week.

By Jens Kügler

The Institute Bitkom Research and the career portal Linkedin have asked CEO’s and personnel managers of German companies. They wanted to know which hard and soft skills are in demand today—and which they believe will be in ten years. The assumptions are based on the expected requirements of the advanced digitization.

Today’s most wanted hard skills are data analysis and data interpretation ability. In ten years, the bosses and HR professionals will see it only in second place, as they think. Number one will be the current second-placed ability, the knowledge management. Three and four remain unchanged: project management and change management. It is only a bit surprising that the point of corporate leadership is to move from seven to five—and thus leave social media knowledge and general digital competency behind.

Much larger changes will take place in the soft skills. The ability to deal with criticism—today at number one on the wishlist for candidates—drops down to number four. Intercultural competence jumps from eight to five in ten years. The most important rise makes the capability of interdisciplinary skills—from number seven today to number one in the future! That means that employees of tomorrow shall be able to communicate well, cross-departmentally, in several languages and also with colleagues from other cultures.

Conversation and negotiations will also promote—from three to two. Employee leadership climbs from four to three. And, most surprisingly, the decision-making ability falls from number two today to number six then! I’m very curious whether personnel decision-makers will actually judge their candidates in ten years as they believe today …

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