- With automation encroaching on traditional skill sets, future job seekers will need to lean increasingly on "emotional labour" in order to stay relevant, Aeon reports.
- Caregiver jobs — like home healthcare aides and customer service positions — are likely to grow faster than those in STEM fields or manufacturing. In a 2015 paper, a Harvard economist reported strong job growth statistics for positions involving social skills between the period 1980 and 2012.
- This trend contrasts with society's historical treatment of those whose jobs depend on emotional intelligence and soft skills, Aeon says. In fact, many of these workers could be underpaid and their work considered thankless.
After decades of focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, employers now recognize the need for soft skills across all professions. Asset management firm BlackRock plans to hire liberal arts graduates along with STEM majors. The firm wants to add humanities and social science graduates along side of its tech hires.
A new demand for one particular soft skill, empathy, has even reached the leadership level of the workplace. A survey found that more than 90% of both HR professionals and employees believe an organization can't operate successfully without empathetic leaders. However, less than half of employees thought of their own organizational leaders as empathetic.
Perhaps it's time for the human side of the work to get its due. Organizations calling for more empathy will need to back up their stated goals with cultural changes and clear guidelines for appropriate conduct. Soft skills training could soon revolutionize the way HR practitioners envision career development.
The emotional intelligence trend demonstrates the value of workers as productive people with personal development, work-life balance, health and wellness needs — not just human capital.