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Tech Rules, but with a Human Touch- A LinkedIn Op-Ed Exclusive

Between soft and hard skills, are employers favoring one over the other? Is the UAE sending the right digital trend signals?

11 of the 15 top emerging jobs in the UAE are within the digital and technology fields Persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management among the key skills recruiters are looking for Hard skills help you get the job done faster, while soft skills get the job done better. You need both in order to excel

By: Susana Correia, Head of Search & Staffing – LinkedIn MENA

As automation becomes more widespread across our homes and places of work, the UAE stands as a prime example of this global shift.  Indeed, LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report reveals that 11 of the 15 top emerging jobs in the UAE are within the digital and technology fields. The top 10 positions on the list include data scientists, full-stack engineers, digital marketing specialists, cyber-security specialists and android developers.

However, as the conversation about the future dominance of technology and the need for workforce reskilling evolves, one critical element tends to be overlooked – the almost equally increasing need for soft skills. The Emerging Jobs Report clearly shows that as automation becomes more prevalent, so will the need for the human soft skills that are impossible to automate. Skills like negotiation and creativity will in fact remain integral to digital roles. 

In another example, the 2019 Global Trends Report, which combines the findings of a survey of over 5,000 professionals in 35 countries with behavioral data from LinkedIn, reveals that 80% of respondents find soft skills crucial to company success.  The report ranks persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management among the key skills recruiters are looking for in addition to specialized competencies.  

Read: Unlocking the promise of a digital workplace

Therefore, it is essential that people highlight these skills that set them apart on their resumes and digital profiles. It is also important to note that soft skills are not as ‘soft’ as you may think. While technical skills are top of mind when it comes to jobs of the future, they are not the only prerequisites for success. Soft skills are associated with emotional intelligence, which affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. Soft skills are especially important when working as part of a team because success then is dependent on the ability of multiple individuals to collaborate, manage differences and build relationships to attain a common goal. 

This is not to say that we should disregard hard skills, but rather marry both sets to position ourselves as best suited for the opportunities we seek. Developing any skill brings added value, whether it is upskilling to stay relevant in the workplace or working towards growth through learning and development. Acquiring new skills and expanding your capabilities will always give you an advantage in a competitive workplace. In a nutshell, hard skills help you get the job done faster, while soft skills get the job done better. You need both in order to excel.

Read: Digitally Infected: Coronavirus driving people away but us closer to tech

In sum, technology is making us all change and adapt. Throughout all previous industrial revolutions, our predecessors had no choice but to learn, adapt and change, or get left behind. In the same way today, we need to stop thinking of “soft skills” as something we should have, and instead consider them as what is required for a successful career.

One key lesson is that change is inevitable, and it is up to you to build your capacities so that you can continue to add value wherever your career may take you. Technical skills and soft skills go hand in hand, and while technology may power the future, the human touch will remain integral and invaluable to success.