Soft skills vs technical know-how


Published by: Sarah   October 09, 2015

Soft skills vs technical know-how:

which is more important?


I know what I think but what about you?


I recently contributed to this debate in an FT Ignites article.


Robert Half, the recruitment firm conducted a recent study that showed finance professionals “increasingly need to have exceptional soft skills as well as technical ability to make it to the top”


Being a subject matter expert (SME) can serve you well in the early part of your career but as you progress up the ladder it can hold you back.  If you want to make it to the top you have to let go of your area of expertise and be able to think much more holistically and strategically.  You almost need to rebrand yourself and behave differently for others to acknowledge your capabilities and not to be pigeon holed.


The study showed that finance professionals cite strong leadership skills (60%) as the most important attribute for reaching the top, followed by strong technical skills (47%) and then effective communication (33%)


Financial Services is a challenging place to work, with stressful crisis situations, conflicting deadlines, and the need to be able to influence different personalities, so effective leadership skills are more relevant that ever.


On top of that if you want to keep up with and retain the new generation of talented and demanding millennials then strong leadership is a must.


Developing soft skills is often neglected in favour of tangible expertise early on ones career however the reality is that you need both technical know how and the soft skills to advance your career.


You might be required to do continuous professional development (CPD) to maintain your technical prowess; well the same is true for your leadership capabilities too.  It takes a long time to develop soft skills and they too need continuous improvement.


The bottom line is if you want to make it to the top of your profession, invest in developing your leadership capability as well as your technical know how


To read the full FT Ignites article People Feature: Soft skills vs technical know-how: which is more important? 


To read the summary of the Robert Half study Leadership, Technical Skills and Effective Communication are Key for Success


- Sarah