Will “soft skills” soon be worth more than an MBA?

Before entering the hallowed portals of Vivatech, the collective unconscious tends to imagine a kingdom full of technological innovations, where gifted engineers are kings blessed with extraordinary know-how. But that would be a mistake because, this year, interpersonal skills took pride of place.

Although the buzzword was “Tech4Good”, it was impossible not to overhear the speakers on the stands singing the praises of soft skills. While the term hard skillsrefers to an individual’s technical expertise (in software, for example), soft skills– which are both complementary and contradictory – reflect a much more human dimension. These skills include those qualities and character traits that make us who we are, such as empathy, our ability to listen, humor and creativity.

Recruiters are starting to realize how important these abilities are, and that they shouldn’t be relegated to a little box marked “desirable skills” at the bottom of a job description. They are as important as the hard skills acquired at school or through business experience. It’s clear that in a society where more and more people are being taught the same technical skills, these soft skills will make the difference and result in much better value creation. So why are we still prioritizing know-how over interpersonal skills?

Based on:

#1 Mettre le digital au service des compétences humaines” (manpowerGroup, January 22, 2019) and the experiences of the Business Digest team at Vivatech (May 2019)