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The 10 Most In-Demand Soft Skills

The 10 Most In-Demand Soft Skills
Credit: Mathias Rosenthal/Shutterstock

When making new hires, employers aren't just looking for candidates with the technical know-how to get the job done. They also want employees who are good communicators and well-organized, new research from LinkedIn finds.

Finding employees with the right combination of hard skills and interpersonal skills, however, is easier said than done. The study revealed that hiring managers are having trouble finding employees with the right soft skills for 59 percent of their open jobs.

"Hard skills vary based on the job, but soft skills are required for every job," Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn, wrote on the company's blog. "That makes soft skills extremely valuable."

To help job seekers, LinkedIn analyzed the soft skills listed on the profiles of members who changed their employer on their LinkedIn profile between June 2014 and June 2015 in order to identify the most sought-after soft skills. [See Related Story: Soft Skills Matter: Can They Be Taught?]

The research found that the soft skills most in-demand are:

  1. Good communicator
  2. Well organized
  3. Team player
  4. Always punctual
  5. Critical thinker
  6. Social
  7. Creative thinker
  8. Interpersonal communicator
  9. Easily adapts
  10. Friendly personality

The list of in-demand soft skills was derived from a total of 58 skills. Since the researchers didn't group similar skills into one category, there are some listed as distinct skills, when their meanings could be interpreted to be similar. For example, both "interpersonal communication" and "communication" are included as distinct soft skills when there's an obvious semantic overlap between the two.

Previous research from Instructure, a software-as-a-service company, revealed that hiring managers believe soft skills are more important toward an entry-level employee's success at work than the skills they learned in school. The study's authors believe this shows that managers make new hires based on key attributes, then hope to effectively train them to develop other skills they need to excel in the workplace.

"Most companies are hiring talent based on soft skills like attitude and hard work, with the hope that they can train them to be up to par on things like tech skills and industry knowledge," said Davis Bell, Instructure's vice president of corporate markets.

The LinkedIn study found that soft skills are more in-demand in some industries than others. The industries where soft skills are most valued are:

  1. Restaurants
  2. Professional training
  3. Consumer services
  4. Retail
  5. Sports
  6. Hospitality
  7. Human resources
  8. Facilities services
  9. Civic and social organizations
  10. Management consulting

The 10 industries where soft skills are deemed least in-demand are:

  1. Graphic design
  2. Motion pictures and film
  3. Architecture and planning
  4. Music
  5. Photography
  6. Fine art
  7. Design
  8. Civil engineering
  9. Law practice
  10. Arts and crafts
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.