Soft skills are undergoing a rebranding, and in lieu of the word soft, many people are now referring to them as durable. But that’s not all—there has been a considerable shift in the demand of durable skills as more employers see their increase in value, and more hiring managers switch to a skills-based hiring model.
But why are durable skills shifting to the spotlight right now? Let’s breakdown the name-change from soft to durable, three advantages of these skills, and five in-demand durable skills in today’s market.
What Are Durable Skills?
The term “durable skills” has been coined as a sort of nickname for soft skills. It’s a new way of referencing skills that do not rely on technical knowledge or abilities. Instead, these are interpersonal skills that rely on social or emotional intelligence, as well as experience.
There are a couple of reasons the term durable is gaining traction over the traditional title “soft skills.” The first reason is because it has a more positive connotation. Whereas soft could diminish the validity or value of a skillset, durable immediately acknowledges their importance as something strong and lasting.
The term also nods to the major selling point of this sort of skill, in that soft skills typically have a longer shelf-life than technical skills, which is the second reason this new name is gaining popularity.
3 Major Advantages of Durable Skills
A study from America Succeeds analyzed over 80 million job listings, revealing that:
- 7 out of 10 requested skills were durable
- The top 5 durable skills were requested at rate 4.7 percent higher than the top 5 hard or technical skills
- Leadership and communication were requested in more than 50 percent of job listings
- Communication was listed in 45 million listings
So, it’s safe to say that employers are searching for people with durable skills. But beyond this spike in demand, here are a few other advantages to having and developing durable skill sets.
They Are Long Lasting
The first and foremost advantage to soft skills lies in the nickname: durability. Soft skills don’t expire the way hard or technical skills can, nor do they require as much upkeep.
Technical skills are often connected to educational experience like training or certifications. These skills are also often tied to processes, equipment, or software that are continually improving and upgrading—raising the potential for technical skills centered around them to be seen as outdated or obsolete.
However, that’s rarely the case with durable or soft skills. Take teamwork as an example—of course, it’s still beneficial to continue developing and strengthening durable skills like teamwork. But once you learn how to effectively work with a team and navigate professional relationships, that knowledge is unlikely to expire.
Many Are Highly Transferable
Whereas technical skills are usually tied to a specific field, process, or technology, many durable skills can be used across a variety of industries or projects. So, when you develop and possess a durable skill—let’s say communication, for example—you can transfer it to different positions. This is extremely useful in the case of making a career change, or if you’re in a role requiring you to work in a range of environments.
For example, let’s say you work in a marketing agency with clients in varying industries like automobiles, alcohol, or sports gear. A durable skill like effective communication can be used from client to client, regardless of the differences in client audience or message.
They Can’t be Automated
In a digital world, more and more processes are being automated through technology. Take the writing capabilities of ChatGPT for example. Some employers may be wondering if they truly need people to write content, newsletters, job descriptions, and more. And while that may not yet be true, many businesses are still trying to rely on technology like AI and machine learning to perform tasks at an increasing rate.
But durable skills are interpersonal and human, and they hold value that cannot be easily replicated by a bot. Skills such as leadership and problem solving require a human perspective to be truly successful, making durable skills a major asset to any team that works with or supports people.
5 In-Demand Durable Skills and Why They Matter
Now, let’s look at some highly in-demand durable skills, and why they’re so important to employers.
Communication is a job requirement that isn’t going anywhere. And despite AI replicating written communication, many of the generated results still require a human touch. Not to mention verbal communication, which is a major function in any successful business and requires people that are experts in delivering messages with the right tone—whether that’s empathetic, optimistic, or serious.
There are some incredible project management tools on the market today. And while they may offer productivity and organizational insights, the act of ensuring projects are done well and delivered on time requires someone with a working knowledge of human behavior, workplace patterns, and relationship building. All of which ties back to interpersonal and social intelligence—AKA durable skills.
Strategic thinking is another vital business function that needs the human perspective, and it’s a skill that is useful from entry to senior level management. Companies need individuals with the ability to analyze situations, ideate a path forward, and successfully propose or implement that route.
Very often, success is a combined effort. And to be successful, businesses and the departments within them need to operate as a unit. Many industries like healthcare, creative marketing, and even IT heavily lean on collaboration to achieve goals.
One truth that we can all rely on is that things can go wrong, and problems can arise. Which is why, like teamwork and collaboration, businesses need effective problem solvers who can assess the next best steps to a solution. They also need individuals who can use social intelligence to leverage relationships for support or to navigate any incident– related tensions.
Employers Want Durable Skills
Long lasting and highly transferable, durable skills are a vital resource for any career. They can support you through a career change, or even on your promotion path to a more senior role. Plus, they only strengthen and grow in value as you continue to use them throughout your professional experiences and relationships.
With demand on the rise for these skill sets, there has never been a better time to develop durable skills. And if you have durable skills, but you’re unsure of how to leverage them, let us help!
Check out the IG job board to get started.