National Careers Week: Why we should stop using ‘soft’ skills

I wrote this article on Why we should stop using ‘soft’ skills for the Careers Council of Australia’s (CICA) National Careers Week.

The articles argues that it’s time for career development practitioners, researchers, teachers, trainers, educators, employers and parents to stop using this incorrect and misleading term.

Three reasons are presented in support of dropping the use of ‘soft’ skills.

  • The term is out-of-date and confusing.
  • The term is inaccurate.
  • The term is gender-biased.

Why make life difficult for people when they are trying to identify what skills they have and will need?

Alternatives to ‘soft’ skills are:

  • When discussing specific skills, use specific skill words, like communication skills, problem solving skills.
  • When grouping skills that relate to communication and interpersonal skills, use social skills.
  • When grouping several specific, career-critical skills, use employability or transferable skills.

Please rethink what skill terms you are using and stop using ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ when talking about skills.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist® specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.