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soft skills: how to meet soaring global demand.

soft skills: how to meet soaring global demand. Randstad Sourceright

In today’s complex and competitive global talent market, technology is the most influential factor shaping the world of work. Right now, technical competencies are universally in high demand — and skills gaps soar — as organizations strive to compete in a rapidly changing global economy, according to Randstad Sourceright’s Global In-demand Skills Report.

Yet, demand for soft skills is also surging, and many employers consider soft skills just as critical as technical competence when it comes to market competitiveness.

The Randstad Sourceright Intelligence team has identified the top-10 skill clusters across 26 markets globally, sourcing millions of job advertisements and worker profiles to help organizations better understand market complexities and how to gain a competitive advantage.

Across the top 10 skill clusters, the analysis shows significant growth in demand for soft skills: Job advertisements increasingly mention communication and teamwork as required skills for today’s high-demand roles. And critical thinking, planning, collaboration, research and creativity are among the fastest-growing skills sought out by employers since 2018.

Key findings regarding demand for soft skills in job advertisements when compared to last year (2020-2021) include:

  • 51% growth in overall demand for soft skills
  • 81% surge in demand for positive disposition, research and dexterities skills in mobile app development roles
  • 73% rise in demand for critical thinking, multitasking and research skills in cloud computing positions
  • 62% increase in demand for positive disposition, collaboration, dexterities and multitasking skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) jobs

The following charts represent the fastest growing soft skills for each of the top ten in-demand skill clusters.

Randstad Sourceright soft skills growth - AI/MLRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - big data

Randstad Sourceright soft skills growth - business intelligence & data visualizationRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - cloud computingRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - customer serviceRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - cybersecurity

Randstad Sourceright soft skills growth - financial managementRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - mobile app development

Randstad Sourceright soft skills growth - salesRandstad Sourceright soft skills growth - UI/UX

Randstad Sourceright soft skills growth - key

stay ahead of in-demand skills

As demand for soft skills grows, organizations must rethink critical talent strategies. Of course, sourcing and hiring new candidates whose skills have wide applications provides workforce agility and clear economic advantages. But reskilling, upskilling and internal mobility are equally important — and often a more sustainable solution.

Organizations also need to better understand how these shifting demands and new expectations impact their employees’ stress levels and well-being. That’s why it’s critical to implement workforce strategies such as hybrid and flexible working, internal mobility, reskilling and upskilling, coaching, compensation and benefits adjustments, and authentic employer branding to maintain a competitive edge — and attract and retain the best people.

meet demand for customer service talent

Surges in demand for soft skills are especially evident in the growing number of job openings for customer service workers, despite the global economic slowdown. As customer-facing specialists, customer service professionals are critical to the success of every organization, and their mastery of communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills is vital to the success for sales professionals too.

Employers may need to enhance the talent experience to ensure access to these critical employees or they may risk damaging their relationship with customers and their overall brand reputation.

leverage adjacent and transferable skills

The growing demand for soft skills also emphasizes how important adjacent and transferable skills are to closing skills gaps — and ensuring workforce success. While adjacent skills are related to an existing skill that makes a person more effective at their job (and a good candidate for reskilling and internal mobility), transferable skills can be used across different jobs and different fields.

Both adjacent and transferable skills can include technical capabilities, like coding languages, user-experience expertise or data visualization, but they can also include soft skills like management, communication or creativity. Look for these transferable soft skills when recruiting or identifying individuals for skilling opportunities.

future-proof your workforce

Escalating demand for soft skills also suggests that employers are seeking talent who are ready to take ownership of their work and drive real innovation at their organizations.

Now, business and talent leaders need to find new ways to cultivate workplaces that attract and retain individuals with these highly coveted soft skills — whether by offering greater autonomy and flexibility, using technology to facilitate greater collaboration, or transforming office spaces into think tanks.

If you’re ready to dive deeper into this data, get your copy of the 2022 Global In-Demand Skills report. Access soft skills data, gender diversity breakdowns, market competitive analysis, compensation data and more for each of the top 10 in-demand skills.

> get the full report