After nearly two years of virtual meetings, webinars, and endless email exchanges, companies have adjusted to the idea that work-from-home is here to stay and that the hybrid setup will likely be the default arrangement even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
But as the global health crisis rages, the fact remains that nearly all aspects of work will remain virtual, at least in the near future, which begs the question: how does one stand out to land a job or get that coveted promotion?
For job seekers and employees eyeing a promotion, soft skills or interpersonal abilities could land you that sought-after career milestone according to JobStreet Philippines.
"The pandemic pronounced the human side of things...More than ever, during this pandemic, soft skills become a highlight of what is needed," said Philip Gioca, country manager of JobStreet Philippines.
For both workers and employers, Gioca said the pandemic served as a wake-up call that people are the "backbone and spirit" of the company which explains why more employers are paying attention to mental health and providing benefits for such.
"When you do invest in human capital, it will show in your business translation to productivity and output. It has pivoted to that because suddenly everyone realized that 'hey, we're humans, we're not machines' and we need human capital to propel the business," Gioca said.
Here are the top soft skills that employers are looking for in candidates as of 2022 according to JobStreet:
Similar to pre-pandemic times, Gioca said teamwork remains a top soft skill since it is a must for employees to meet deadlines and achieve the goals of the company.
2. Growth mindset
Continuous learning can make an employee stand out from the rest especially at a time when everyone's focus is mainly to survive instead of to thrive.
3. Critical Thinking
Work crises happen pandemic or not. And for employees who want to stand out, these are opportunities to show their leadership skills through critical thinking.
According to JobStreet: "True leaders know that in times of minor or major crises, they must learn to invest time in solutions and not in overthinking why the problem occurred in the first place."
4. Complex Problem-Solving
Coming up with creative solutions to problems and innovating to make work more seamless can help you catch the eye of your boss or employer.
5. Resilience and Curiosity
The stress and anxiety of the pandemic alone is tough enough for everyone apart from the problems at work that employees face.
Being resilient and keeping a curious outlook in terms of career is a soft skill that employers want in job seekers.
6. Flexibility or Adaptability
At a time of uncertainty, being flexible to the different changes at work is a much desired soft skill for employees.
7. Time Management
Even in a work-from-home or hybrid setup, companies still need to observe timelines and deadlines.
According to JobStreet, time management is also a metric used by companies to see if an employee is ready to take on a bigger role or more responsibilities.
8. Communication Skills
At the start of the pandemic, Gioca said communication skills became the top priority since face-to-face meetings were barred making it difficult for employees to connect without gestures and facial expressions.
"In a virtual reality, the only thing they see is the virtual background so it's important that you know how to communicate," he said.
9. Service Orientation and Drive
At a time when many companies are laying off workers or are closing, employers want employees who have the emotional quotient to thrive in a time of uncertainty but with more focus on service orientation and drive according to Gioca.
The pandemic has fast-tracked companies' and employees' adoption of more digital tools, making it a must to be technology-driven to thrive.
What to highlight?
For those who are applying for a new job or are eyeing a promotion, JobStreet Philippines' Gioca advises highlighting and working on honing three soft skills: complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and being technology-driven.
"In the pandemic world, we had to be more creative in solving our problems, not only in making sure that our deliverables are delivered on time but also the way we do our work, and the challenge to communicate. Those are things we need to think through if we want to thrive," he said.
In terms of being technology-driven, Gioca said that since nearly all companies have adopted some form of digitalization, employees need to pay more attention not just on learning the technology but on how to use it in the workplace.
"It's not just learning technology but the application of those technologies in the workplace that is more important," he said.