Five essential soft skills for the modern workplace

There are no technical skills in the world that can compensate for being a lousy team player, an appalling communicator, or a downright unpleasant person to deal with. Whatever your profession and level of seniority, ignoring weaknesses and gaps in your soft skill set is career suicide.


If you want to excel in your current role and set yourself up for success in your next career move, take time to identify the soft skills that you need to work on and seek out effective ways to do so. But before we jump to our list of the top five in-demand soft skills, let’s take a moment to define the term.


What are soft (vs. hard) skills?

Soft skills are non-technical skills that describe how you work and interact with others. They relate to your personality traits, work ethic, and working style. Some soft skills might not come naturally to you – such as leadership or presentation skills  – but there are always things you can do to improve them. Online and in-person classes, informal training, and mentorship programmes are all helpful to this end.

Hard (or technical) skills, by contrast, usually refer to skills acquired through formal education, professional courses, and on-the-job training, e.g., computer programming, law, and SEO. They tend to be specific to the role while soft skills are transferable across companies, industries, and organisation levels.


What are the five most important soft skills for the modern workplace?

Please read on to discover the five most important soft skills demanded by today’s employers.

  1. Solid communication skills are essential for conveying your ideas, understanding other people’s perspectives, and building relationships. This applies to spoken, written, verbal, and non-verbal forms of communication.
  2. Robust interpersonal skills are vital to building positive relationships inside and outside the office walls. They foster team cohesion and productivity, as well as leading ultimately to new business opportunities and a loyal customer base. Emotional intelligence and empathy are key components of your interpersonal skill set. Making a conscious effort to develop both is a particularly worthwhile investment.
  3. Excellent organisation and time management skills enable you to effectively prioritise tasks and projects without becoming a slave to work and a candidate for burnout. An element of flexibility is also required so that you can adapt your plans to accommodate changes in circumstances when necessary.
  4. Good team players are of great value to businesses. They help ensure that each team member (including them) stays on track with their individual goals so that their collective objectives and deadlines are also met. Good team players are supportive, helpful, and optimistic. They’re pleasant to work with and have a positive effect on the motivation, engagement, and performance of those around them.
  5. Strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills are must-haves in the modern workplace. Whatever industry you work in, issues will inevitably arise. You’ll be required to analyse at times complex situations and propose (and implement) successful solutions, often under time pressure. This may necessitate creative thinking and will, more than likely, involve agile, smart thinking.


There are many other soft skills that are important in the workplace, including leadership, presentation, motivation, and conflict resolution skills as well as reliability and adaptability. The list is long but the above items offer a great starting point for your journey of self-discovery and development.


If you’d like any advice about which skills (soft and hard) you should develop to take your career to the next level, and how to best promote them to potential new employers, please get in touch. ABL Recruitment – the UK’s number one multilingual recruitment agency – will give you all the expert tips you need to get your CV and LinkedIn profile noticed by the right people. We’ll connect you to your next dream job and help you nail the interview. Please contact us at or on 020 7092 3911 to brainstorm the options today!