The Top 10 In-Demand Soft Skills To Learn In 2024, Based On Research (2024)

Looking back to 10, 15, or even 20 years ago, "hard," technical skills, were what got your foot in the door and enabled you to progress in your career. But now, employers' attitudes towards work and suitable talent criteria have changed. Soft skills are the new currency of the workplace.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, perhaps better referred to as power skills, are psychosocial skills that are applicable to any workplace and enable one to succeed in their career and work well with others.

In its skills outlook for the Future of Jobs 2023 report, The World Economic Forum highlighted from their extensive research several soft skills as leading the way in high demand, and consequently enabling those who possess them to earn higher income: "The socio-emotional attitudes which businesses consider to be growing in importance most quickly are curiosity and lifelong learning; resilience, flexibility and agility; and motivation and self-awareness—evidence that businesses emphasize the importance of resilient and reflective workers embracing a culture of lifelong learning as the lifecycle of their skills decreases," the report's findings reveal.

The research also concluded that "emerging technologies such as generative AI are reshaping workforce demands, and employers are placing greater emphasis on 'soft' skills. These skills allow companies to respond to change and are resistant to automation."

The beauty of soft skills is that they are highly transferable across industries, which makes it easier for you to make a career pivot or progress up the ladder faster, or even start your own business due to their liquid nature and employer's perspectives and acceptance of them.


What Soft Skills Are In High Demand?

According to recent analysis from CashNet USA of more than 17 million American job listings on, 10 soft skills were identified as of the greatest priority in the United States, while other skills were broken down by most in demand by state.

1. Strategic Thinking

Within the top 25% wage bracket, it was identified that the most in-demand soft skill is strategic thinking, accounting for around 65% of job adverts for highly paid roles. Strategy skills—in which you analyze a situation and set goals systematically—are a necessary quality for not only leaders, but aspiring leaders and managers, and high-achieving non-leadership professionals.

MORE FROM FORBES5 Ways To Build Strategy Skills As An Aspiring LeaderBy Rachel Wells

Other skills listed from CashNet's analysis (in order of demand) include:

2. Negotiation

Negotiation skills play a vital role in everything from sales pitches, to securing and finalizing business contracts, to ensuring customer satisfaction, to handling sensitive situations at work and ensuring both parties can mutually agree. To build your negotiation skills you could consider undertaking negotiation training or taking training to improve your communication skills.

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3. Persuasion

Persuasion is a form of communication skills, and can often be confused with negotiation tactics, but there is a clear difference. While negotiation works for the aim of enabling both parties to reach an agreed outcome through mutual compromise, persuasion is useful to get the other party to agree on your side. However, both skills work hand in hand.

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4. Presentation Skills

Especially as we move into hybrid working presentation skills and essential part of your communication toolkit.

You need to be able to adapt your presentations to be engaging, convey the right information in a concise manner, and be powerfully effective in a way that pulls in the attention of your audience whether they're based at their work from home desk or in the office.

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5. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a major component of strategy and decision-making. To think critically, you need to carefully gather and analyze facts and use your observations to make a sound judgment.

While this is obviously an essential quality for leaders and managers, there will be situations at work when you will be required to think critically in an emergency or where you are granted more autonomy over your work, and these skills will necessarily come into play. This demonstrates responsibility and ownership, and self-awareness to be accountable for your actions.

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6. Mentoring

When we think of soft skills, mentoring isn't exactly the skill that first comes to mind. But mentorship is a critical part of developing and demonstrating your competence for management and leadership roles. Furthermore it demonstrates teamwork and collaboration, and improves other skills such as patience and communication, as you train and mentor others.

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7. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and regulate one's own emotions and to relate to those of others. It is evident based on the World Economic Forum's report that soft skills related to emotional intelligence are seen as highly desirable by employers.

Some key indicators that you have high emotional intelligence include how well you actively listen and demonstrate empathy, how you respond and react to challenges, how you view failure, and your perspective on your professional growth and development.

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8. Innovation

Do you consider yourself to be an innovative or creative thinker? Even if you feel that you don't have anything unique or value to bring to the table, aim to stretch yourself every day by considering various approaches and always challenging assumptions and the status quo. Not because something has always been done a certain way does it mean that it can be rendered effective.

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Do brainstorming exercises on your own and with your team, and view a business problem or problems at work from every possible angle, carefully evaluating pros and cons. You can stretch your imagination by constantly asking yourself, What else?, even if your ideas may look outrageously silly at first.

9. Financial Management

You don't need to work in the finance department of your organization to need to have a good grip of the finances. Undertake training, and where possible, learn from your company's financial team so that you can understand what goes into the financials, and what part you play in helping to cut down unnecessary expenses. Learn basic business finance terminology. This will work in your favor should you pursue a promotion

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10. Resilience

Resilience is a trait demonstrated by those who have high levels of emotional intelligence. Being resilient means that you view failures and setbacks with new eyes. Instead of quitting or blaming external factors, you undertake a period of self-reflection, critically analyze the situation, and get back up again to try something new, using the lessons learned.

When you have these 10 soft skills, you will be empowered to make the best decisions for your organization and for your career, and will be more in-demand with career and business opportunities flooding your way.

The Top 10 In-Demand Soft Skills To Learn In 2024, Based On Research (2024)
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