You are here
Soft skills become more important for employees
Expert talk with Xavier Chauville, Executive Director of Page Personnel Switzerland
According to the current Confidence Index, 82% of employees in Switzerland are keen to develop their professional skills in the future. What do you think about this result?
I am very satisfied with the results, although I have to admit that it is not a surprise. Switzerland orientates itself on Germany in many ways, insomuch as further education and advanced training have gained greater importance, especially for people without a pure academic background. In my opinion it is very important to develop skills constantly whilst working. The expectations of corporate environments are constantly increasing, and the job market of the future will be a very competitive one.
Which competences should an ideal candidate have, where is demand on the market?
The importance of certain skills is shifting over time. Until recently, people management and service orientation were considered great qualifications. Nowadays, soft skills becoming more and more important.
I would consider emotional intelligence as the strongest feature in this regard, which includes complex problem solving and critical thinking. We also see a lot of demand for creative people who are able to think “out-of-the-box.”
In recent debates we heard a lot about digital skills and their upcoming importance in a digitalised environment. Would you say that employees should strengthen their knowledge in this field?
Yes. We see within our work that a lot of companies demand digital skills from their employees, especially in marketing. As a CRM or SEO specialist for instance, you can expect a very competitive salary and good chances for career development within the company. However, I consider those skills as short-term. We live in a world where automation increases permanently. I believe that a lot of digital processes, which are nowadays made by employees, will be executed by machines in future. Hence, it is important to work on soft skills since they can be better utilised in the long run.
How do emotional intelligence skills help employees within corporate companies? How are employees able to enhance those skills in a practical way?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realise how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how your environment feels you are able to manage relationships more effectively.
For instance, if you have to have a meeting with a colleague that may provoke some conflict, you can prepare yourself to see your own emotions, picture the way you believe you will react, and try to work on it in advance. That will leave you space to better handle the emotions of your counterpart. In this example, you don’t need training but rather “awareness” and the “willingness to change”. You also need the ability to critically rethink your perception of situations and then solve problems arising from them in the best way. This example is adaptable for workflows, not only for interpersonal relationships. By independently thinking about how to improve our working methods, instead of only awaiting requests from our managers, we build up a strong work community. That’s what modern companies both need and expect from their candidates.
In conclusion I would suggest training in a professional manner according to your job expectations, but also in a personal way, to develop your character and become a well-rounded person.
You would like to find out more about emotional intelligence and how to develop your skills in this field? Watch 5 TED Talks podcasts that will boost your emotional intelligence.
Are you curious which new challenges wait for you on the Swiss job market? Check our jobportal for new scopes.