Soft Skills – The Changing World of Jobs

The changing work landscape is bringing about a new focus on skills — in particular, soft skills.

Formal qualifications and technical skills are only part of the requirements for modern employees. ‘Soft skills’ and personal attributes are just as important to success.

What are soft skills?

Sometimes called “employability skills” or “enterprise skills,” soft skills are typically transferable between industries and occupations. As the term implies, these are skills that are less specialised, less rooted in specific vocations and more aligned with the general disposition and personality of a candidate — think attitudes and intuitions. They also count a lot toward your personal work style.

They include things like communication, teamwork and problem-solving, as well as emotional judgment, professional ethics and global citizenship.

Changing World of Work

As technology, globalisation and demographic shifts continue to shape how businesses compete, the importance of soft skills will grow. Compared to half of all jobs in 2000, soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. The number of jobs in soft-skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations. These are findings in a recent report by Deloitte Access Economics for Deakin Co that JobGetter contributed to (while still operating as “Workible”). 

Penguin Random House and major consulting firms Ernst & Young (EY) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are just three big companies to have recently stated that they no longer require just a university degree. Instead, they want to recruit newcomers who have a broad range of life and education skills and experiences.

A 2015 survey of over 450 business managers and executives in the Western Sydney area found that the overwhelming majority of businesses cite teamwork (98%), time management (97%), and communication skills (95%) as being among the most vital skills for applicants to have (TAFE NSW 2015, Skills Barometer).

What has changed since? At JobGetter, we regularly look at what employers want. In July 2017, we took a look at the soft skills in demand in Australia across 168,000 job ads and 54 industry sectors. 

Below are the five soft skills that topped the list of what employers are currently looking for when hiring:

Soft skills in demand

Source: JobGetter


Communication tops the list in practically every industry. The high demand for good communication and collaborative skills indicate that employers need people who can work together within their workplaces. They want workers who feel comfortable working as a team, who effectively ask questions, instruct others and raise queries and concerns. 

Self Motivation

Self-motivated employees are the dream of most employers. They want a team of workers who will push each other to succeed and who have the ability to set their own goals.


Workers should be motivated by outcomes and for many employers ambition has become a “must have” trait. In fact, 23 industries including the automative, farming, sales, and trade industries listed “ambition” as one of their top four skills. The creative media and arts, for example, is an industry looking for workers who are creative (okay, duh!) and communicative as well as focused on outcomes.

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is also highly demanded in today’s technology age by employers in industries such as Retail, IT & Telecommunication, Banking, and Digital Media where employees are required to engage with customers and often colleagues online. Employers are showing a desire for employees who can creatively use digital resources, think critically and communicate effectively within a digital landscape whilst maintaining the required level of e-safety.

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Creativity and critical thinking are the other in-demand skills that continue to highlight the shift in the workplace. Employers are placing more autonomy in the hands of the worker (cue again, “self motivated”). So, the employee of the future will be more in control of their tasks and duties and will require less supervision.

While each industry is unique in asking for certain qualities from its potential employees, many are similar in that they are moving towards workers who can deal with the changing practices and technologies of the modern workplace — they want employers who are adaptable and capable of changing with the times.

The desire for driven, cooperative workers also extends across all industries. Workers of the future will need to be team players and demonstrate confidence in setting and achieving their own goals. What this means for you as a job seeker is that cultivating the right soft skills will be the difference between landing your dream job and settling for a role you don’t love (ain’t nobody got time for that!)

So, make sure you include soft skills in your resume, CV and JobGetter profile and use examples of how you’ve used these soft skills in the highlights/key achievements section for each job in your work history. 


Founded by job seekers, JobGetter’s fundamental commitment is to solve the challenges that people looking for employment face.

By constructively challenging the status quo JobGetter continues to drive the recruitment industry to keep pace with the changing workplace. We want to do everything we can to make your job search faster, more enjoyable, and ultimately, successful. 

Please feel free to reach out to our Support Team at any time for help with your job search. You can start your job search here

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