How do soft skills affect salary?

Everyone is talking about the importance of soft skills for the last ten years at least. And now the discussion got its second wind with the chatGPT hype. But how to measure this importance? Well, financially, of course!

So we decided to find out if it is worth it to develop soft skills and what is the return on this time and money investment.

Soft skills vs Hard skills

Sometimes you might stumble upon the statement: “Soft skills are even more important than hard skills nowadays!”. That phrase might make you feel mixed emotions but don’t rush into believing it right away.
Soft skills are still less paid than hard skills. And the difference is pretty significant!
Gregory Balon, BEsmart Partner, Public Communications and Speaking Trainer
Gregory Balon
BEsmart Partner, Public Communications and Speaking Trainer
For instance, this McKinsey research shows that hard skills are compensated 2 times higher than soft skills. At the same time, researchers point out that changes in technologies and labor might force companies to close this gap.

Another study claims that even though soft skills are important for many employees, they still pay more attention to hard skills when it comes to hiring for an executive position. It seems like if you are looking for a junior position, you might want to pay more attention to development and proof of your soft skills.

Summarizing, we can claim that hard skills are still pretty much here. And the idea that soft skills are now rewarded higher is questionable at best.

Are soft skills not important?

So shall we abandon learning soft skills altogether and focus on acquiring only hard ones?

Not exactly. Various data prove that soft skills still have a significant impact on an income level. Here are some examples:

These creative researchers decided to check how friendship influences wealth. To check it they’ve tracked the number of students for 35 years. They discovered that each extra friend in high school causes a 35% pay increase in the long run. This shows the importance of an ability to understand and follow social norms to gain approval and help from colleagues.

How does leadership affect salary levels?

Along with friendship, leadership causes an income difference. People who used to participate in leading activities during high school: were club presidents or team captains, making from 3 up to 22 percent more. The same goes for people who identify themselves as leaders at work. So don’t get upset if you missed this debate club presidency during college.

Those qualities are comprised of various smaller skills. And if you feel that you want to enhance them, you may turn to our article: How to improve 3 soft skills in 3 weeks.

Is it necessary to develop soft skills

Automation and AI usage trends are not going anywhere. And most of the researchers agree that the importance of soft skills will continue to increase.

ChatGPT, Midjourney, and other fancy tools prove themselves only useful with great supervision. Like many great inventions of the past, they will most probably create more jobs than destroy and make room for higher demand for creativity and communication for humans.

On the other hand, they can easily cause even greater inequality in wealth distribution and lots of trouble for those who won’t be able to adapt.

And there might be plenty.
Our research shows that even though lots of IT specialists declare the importance of soft skills for their career, only a fraction spend any money to develop them, which might testify that this is just a declared value.
Gregory Balon, BEsmart Partner, Public Communications and Speaking Trainer
Gregory Balon
BEsmart Partner, Public Communications and Speaking Trainer
Changing that is a shared responsibility of employers, who have to change the soft skills to hard skills compensation ratio, and employees who might take more efforts to future-proof their careers by acquiring skills that are much more difficult to substitute with any existing technology.

Do you want to develop soft skills to earn more?

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