We are not oblivious to the fact that as much as we need functional and technical competence for business results, we also need soft-skills for peak performance. However most of the times, we emphasize technical skills as they tend to deliver immediate returns and are measurable. Change is often quite visible when functional or technical capabilities are implemented.

But what about soft-skills?

Do they take a lot of time to be implemented in the business domain?

Don’t they deliver tangible business results?

Don’t we have leadership or employee buy-in for soft-skills interventions?

The fact is that soft-skills and functional/technical skills are hand in gloves in the business set-up. Employees need business acumen and product knowledge to implement strategies, make large scale changes, build revenue and enhance technological interventions. Soft-skills on the other hand help facilitate conversations, aid influencing and negotiation strategies, build and strengthen emotional intelligence with peers and customers, enhance collaboration within the team or at a global scale.

When both the domains work in harmony with each other, it stretches boundaries to grow businesses in terms of revenue and reputation and people to leadership positions to make executive decisions. Therefore, it is imperative for organisations to create avenues for progressive learning for employees to sharpen their skill sets through varied learning approaches.

Each year LinkedIn analyses and publishes a data on some of the top skills in demand. Let’s look at 2019’s high on demand Soft-Skills and Technical Skills.

Top Five Soft Skills

  1. Creativity: While robots are great at optimizing old ideas, organizations most need creative employees who can conceive solutions.
  2. Persuasion: Having a great product, a great platform or a great concept is one thing, but the key is persuading people to buy into it.
  3. Collaboration: As projects grow increasingly more complex and global in the age of AI, effective collaboration only grows more important.
  4. Adaptability: An adaptable mind is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world, as yesterday’s solutions won’t solve tomorrow’s problems.
  5. Time Management: A timeless skill, mastering time management today will serve you the rest of your career.

Top Five Hard Skills

  1. Cloud Computing: As the world rushes toward the cloud, companies are desperately searching for engineers who have the skills to accommodate this demand.
  2. Artificial Intelligence: From neural networks to machine learning, the age of A.I. is here.
  3. Analytical Reasoning: As they collect more data than ever before, companies are hungry for professionals who can make smart decisions based off of it.
  4. People Management: The world has changed from a “command-and-control” model toward leaders who can coach and empower, a difficult skill set few professionals possess.
  5. UX Design: UX design is the key to making a digital world work for humans.

You may view the entire analysis here

So, what does this mean for businesses? – High investment in talent, approaches that aid technical competence with long range advantages for people to scale up to leadership roles through soft-skills programmes.

And what does this mean for employees? – Willingness to transform from an employee to an intrapreneur, high bent towards continuing education, relentless curiosity towards developing technical competence and learning soft-skills approaches.


  • Hithakshi Kotyan

    Author | People Development Specialist | Harvard Member | Positive Psychology Coach

    Hithakshi is an Author and Senior Learning Specialist with Priceline Technology, India. She has worked and consulted global organisations to drive personal and workplace excellence. The underlying themes of her programs are rooted in the areas of Career Pivots, Self-Leadership, Personal Productivity, and Well-being. She is the author of "The Future of Work In An Evolving Economy", a Member of Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square and Business Intelligence Board Member at the Chief Learning Officer Publication. Hithakshi is a Certified Instructional Designer, a Positive Psychology Coach, and a Behavioural Interpreter.