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Future Workforce | Soft Skills

21st Century Workforce – from STEM to ECOSYSTEM

You might have heard the term STEM. It stands for ScienceTechnologyEngineering and Mathematics. These are the skills that should help you succeed in modern knowledge-based economy. Indeed, it does not matter what your profession is – you are likely to be using technology in some form. But is it sufficient to master just STEM skills? 

More and more people, and organisations now recognise that the success at work, even at purely STEM jobs, will rely also on the so-called soft skills. STEM gives you a good solid start but, using an analogy with nature, a stem alone does not make a garden. You will need to build an entire ecosystem. That is why STEM skills should be complimented with: 

  • Empathy 

“Understanding of others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things” (D. Goleman) 

  • Critical Thinking 

While there are many definitions of critical thinking, its core concept is goal-directed thinking, which involves careful evaluation of facts, suspending judgement and following an algorithm to answer a question, as in this short video

  • Originality 

“The ability to think independently and creatively” (Oxford Dictionary) 

  • Social skills 

These are the skills that help you interact and engage with others. A few examples of social skills are communication (verbal, written etc.), collaboration, cooperation and active listening. 

  • Your self-knowledge 

This is what you know and have learnt about your own capabilities, character, feelings, or motivations. 

So, STEM have to become ECOSYSTEM

Mastering ECOSYSTEM will enable you to work more effectively in teams, quickly adapt to fast changing work environment, become more resilient and not only withstand changes but embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow. 

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  1. Informative video thanks for sharing Alexandra.
    My question is where do you learn those soft skills to complement STEM skills? and when do you start?

    1. Thank you, Souhila, for your comment.
      Let me begin with answering your last question, about when to start. My answer would be “yesterday”:). I think it is important to start preparing future workforce as early as at schools. While STEM are being taught at schools, soft skills are left aside assuming they will be naturally acquired along the way. This may work for some people but not in general. I believe there has to be a conscious focus on a systematic approach to equipping future workforce with soft skills as early as possible.
      Re your first question – there are now more and more ways of learning soft skills. For example, you can find some good quality courses online (and Simpalrity will be releasing one very soon, so bear with us:)). There are also great thought leaders to learn from – Daniel Goleman, Brené Brown, Daniel Kahneman, Simon Sinek to name just a few. But at the end of the day, it will be the practicing of soft skills that will make a difference.

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