Soft Skills

Why You Should Stop Calling Them “Soft Skills”

You have heard the term “Soft Skills.” But what does it mean? How are these skills different than technical skills or competencies? Are these skills easy to learn? How important are these skills?

Let’s explore why these skills or competencies are so important and why we should stop calling them “soft skills.”

Technical Skills Versus “Soft Skills”: What are They?

Technical competencies (or sometimes called functional skills or “hard skills”) focus on those behaviours related to the application of technical or functional knowledge related to a specific job or jobs.

Some Examples: incident analysis and response, risk management, prospecting, change management.

“Soft skills” or what we like to call transferable competencies focus on those behaviours that apply to a variety of jobs across a variety of industries.

Some Examples: teamwork, adaptability, communication, problem solving, planning.

Why You Should Stop Calling Them “Soft Skills”

The term Soft Skills makes it sounds like these competencies are easy to learn and are less important than the technical skills.

This could not be further from the truth!

Just think of competencies like adaptability or teamwork, these are very important skills for most jobs and yet these are very hard things for people to learn and to develop.

Why are Transferable Competencies so Important?

We tend to focus on technical competencies, but the transferable ones are just as important. If not more so. I am sure that you can probably think of someone who is the go-to technical expert, but they aren’t very flexible or can’t play well with others. You can see why this might become a problem.

Transferable competencies are important because:

  • They describe the “must-haves” across many different jobs.​
  • You can use them to identify career paths.
  • They allow you to source and grow your talent from within.​
  • They allow you to promote a culture of learning and development.


So, let’s stop calling them “soft skills” and start calling them transferable skills or competencies. Don’t wait to identify and grow these competencies today!