A Guide to Soft Skills VS Hard Skills

Soft skills and hard skills in demand


With many people looking to upskill in business post-pandemic, change roles or even change industries, the question of which key skills employers are looking for has become a hot topic. Regardless of what industry or role you’re in, every position requires employees to develop both soft and hard skills in order to achieve success and progress their career. Regardless, there are definitely certain skills that are in the most demand right now. Keep reading to learn the best soft skills and hard skills, as well as how to gain them.

What’s the difference between soft skills VS hard skills?

‘Soft skills’ and ‘hard skills’ are common career buzzwords, but what do these terms actually mean? Here are some key differences between the two:

Soft skills

  • Put simply, soft skills are related to personality traits and qualities that make a person easy to work with. 
  • Soft skills are often thought of as harder to teach, but they can be developed with time and effort.
  • Soft skills examples include communication and adaptability.

Hard skills

  • In contrast to soft skills, hard skills don’t feel like personality traits at all. This type of skill refers to specific and often technical abilities.
  • These skills are generally picked up in educational settings or sometimes via on-the-job training.
  • Hard skills are always tied directly to either your industry or the duties of your role.
  • Hard skills examples include things like programming or design.


Soft VS Hard Skills: What Are Employers Looking For?

When it comes to what employers look for in a resume, a strong mix of both soft and hard skills is much more desirable than only one or the other. Employers want to know that you have the technical expertise to get the job done and the soft skills to do it with empathy and finesse. 

Employers are also on the hunt for people who know how to showcase and quantify their skills on a CV. Rather than including a dry dot point list of common skills, explain how you used your skills to add value in previous roles. Including concrete examples and numbers will also help you stand out. 

In demand hard skills

Let’s take a closer look at the most in-demand hard skills in the post-COVID landscape.

SEM and SEO marketing: 

SEM stands for search engine marketing and refers to the ads you see intertwined with Google and other search engine results pages. SEO stands for search engine optimisation. SEO helps brands and businesses gain visibility by ranking well organically in the non-ads section of search results. As more and more businesses go digital, these skills will continue to be in demand

Computer programming:

Employees who know one or more programming languages are only becoming more desirable. You don’t have to want to be a full-time developer for this skill to be helpful, in fact, there is a demand for basic programming skills across a wide range of roles and industries.

Data handling:

As the move to digital creates ever-increasing volumes of data for just about all businesses, data security is becoming an incredibly important skill for employers to bring into their teams. More and more businesses are looking for data handling officers and managers to help implement best practice data security policies.

Creative writing:

It’s hard to advance a business without highly effective storytelling. Far from being a purely artistic pursuit, people with creative writing skills are currently sought after in a wide range of industries including finance, consulting and marketing.


The pandemic necessitated a rapid acceleration in digital adoption for many businesses, especially those increasing their e-commerce offering. With a bigger digital presence comes the need for more custom-designed digital assets, creating a need to bring designers on board. 

Project management:

Project management is a broadly transferable skill and applicable in all industries. Staying on top of timelines and collaboration is especially important in the new context of working from home, hence the demand for this skill. 

Technical literacy:

The utility of basic technical literacy should not be understated, especially as the uptake of digital collaboration and cloud technologies increases. Be sure to include these proficiencies on your resume.

In demand soft skills

Here are some of the most sought after soft skills you may wish to work on. 


COVID-19 has forced many businesses to become adaptable in the face of dramatic and ongoing change, making adaptability a prerequisite for many industries. 


In times of change such as the pandemic, businesses need effective leaders to help oversee the change management process and minimise hiccups.

Emotional intelligence:

Employee wellbeing and company culture are in the spotlight thanks to the great resignation. Recruiters are in search of staff with demonstrated emotional intelligence to help build positive working cultures.

People management:

Strong people management skills are always important, however, they are particularly important in remote working environments to help ensure team cohesion, foster transparency and manage performance without being in the same room. 

Social responsibility:

Now more than ever, businesses are navigating an expectation from their customers and stakeholders to adopt socially responsible practices and initiatives. Prospective employees who have expertise and ideas on this are considered favourably.


The ability to communicate clearly can be a key predictor of success both internally and externally. 

Gain soft and hard skills with an online MBA

Thinking about career development during the pandemic can seem like a big ask, which is why an online qualification makes the most sense. It’s the best way to upskill around your existing commitments.

Studying an accelerated online Master of Business Administration (MBA Online) with Griffith University gives you the flexibility to upgrade both your soft and hard skills from home. For more help deciding on courses, you can book a one-one-one call with one of our expert advisors or call us on 1300 737 945.

What is Ethical Leadership?
Previous article