Prepare Your Career For The Future By Getting Your Soft Skills Up To Scratch

In our constantly changing career environment, employers have to be certain that you can change along with it. Adaptability is the key to a successful modern career.

That’s why the 2030 JungleGym in Sydney’s Vibewire workspace was established, the first ever “gym” to give your creativity and problem solving a proper work out. As a result, it endows young workers with the tools that allow them to withstand even the most volatile career situation, preparing them for careers in the year 2030.

We sat down with Executive Director of Vibewire and 2030 JungleGym coach, Susan Shi, about learning these seemingly intangible skills and just how much they’ll benefit us in the long run.

What are ‘soft skills’ and how come I need them?

These days, the skills that are essential to have in your toolkit can’t necessarily be learned at university or TAFE, but can be honed in other ways. These have been dubbed ‘soft skills’ and describe an ability to effectively communicate, work with others and stay creative at work.

We asked Susan Shi what skills we should be focusing on, “When we talk about the soft/enterprise skills we now consider these future 8 ‘new basics’ which are communication, digital fluency, critical thinking, creativity, financial fluency, teamwork, problem solving and presentation skills.”

She stresses the importance of qualifying yourself with these skills now, rather than waiting to figure it out down the track. “These 8 ‘new basics’ are in high demand from employers today and even more to navigate the world of work tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a corporate career, hustling your own start up or in a non-for-profit, these skills lay the foundations to analyse and adapt to change quickly.”

Yep, that’s right. Adaptability, she stresses, “is key.”


So much more than traditional education

The standard path of education that leads you to university, TAFE or college is still an important one, but it’s only one part of the picture. Shi tells us that employers are looking for enterprise skills as much as they look for a tertiary qualification, “In an average job advertisement for a young person in 2015, employers are 20% more likely to specify enterprise skills than technical skills. In the next 5 – 10 years,  employers will demand enterprise skills 70% more frequently than the jobs of the past.”

The demand for people specialising in soft skills is growing. Fast. And if you’re up to scratch, you’ll be well compensated too.

“These transferable skills also pay more, for example, jobs that request presentation skills paid an additional $8,853 per year, digital literacy an additional $8,648, problem solving an additional $7,745, financial literacy an additional $5,224. This shows us now that there is a already scarcity of these skills sets in the market today.”

Now’s your chance to fill that void in the market.

So, how do I brush up?


Vibewire’s 2030 JungleGym offers specific courses targeting the 8 skills that Susan Shi tells us are most essential to a young worker. There are four workshops to choose from, focusing on digital literacy, presentation skills, problem solving and financial literacy.

However, if you’re not in Sydney and can’t hop along to a course, Susan still has some advice for you, “Make sure you’re consciously challenging yourself in these new basics. It could be you can drive this culture at work, school or within your own business. If you can’t, make sure you have a side hustle that you feel you can experiment with – be open to failure and learning more about your abilities so you can play to your strengths when you need. It can be anything, a book club, a website or start a small investment portfolio.”

The next Soapbox event will be on May 23 – tickets here.

(All images: Vibewire/provided)