What is Soft Skill? -ソフトスキルとは?- Part2


“Soft Skill”: we witness again and again in truly successful career people with a relatively high level of English competence



As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances rapidly, the required skill sets will change in the future workforce. The McKinsey’s research "Skill shift: Automation and the future of the workforce" in US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain provides a good overview of this topic. The research indicates that the highest demand in 2030 will be for advanced technological skills such as comprehensive data analytics and programming skills – in total a 55% increase in demand. The interesting results here are the increased demand in soft skills such as social and emotional skills, which machines have quite a long way from comprehending – a 25% increase. How can we acquire these so called “soft skills” then?



I do not think that soft skills are something that you can be taught in the same way as more traditional knowledge and techniques. You can be taught how to write an appropriate and polite email sentence, but conditions and context are not always the same – To whom? What timing? In which context? This is exactly the same as mastering English. Having linguistic skills is the first step, but the important next step is how to utilise these, which entirely depends on your own thoughts, feelings and choices. Acute awareness of the situation, intuitive decision making and execution/delivery skills, as a result, play a significant role. These skills are the ones we witness again and again in truly successful career people with a relatively high level of English competence.



As mentioned in this series, one of the options for advancing your career is to change your environment and cross over your own boundaries. As I have greatly benefitted from study abroad experiences, I highly recommend this option, especially for those who seriously consider English to be one of the tools for their career, or for expanding life’s prospects and opportunities.



Satoko Churchill