By Vinayak Trivedi, vice president of Bentley Education with Bentley Systems, Incorporated
More employers are recognizing that soft skills stand in equal value to technical or job-related skills. When looking to hire prospective candidates, organizations should consider that talents and skills that fit the job description might not be enough.
According to Monster’s “The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook” report, businesses named dependability, teamwork and collaboration, flexibility, and problem-solving as some of the top skills that they are prioritizing during their hiring process. This report indicates that companies have acknowledged the impact of workers who may be competent in the technical aspects of the job but lack the skills necessary to interact with others.
Abilities such as adaptability, resiliency, communication, work ethic, time management, creativity, and teamwork lead to productivity, efficiency, and consistently meeting project deadlines, among other benefits, all of which have a positive impact on the organization.
Soft skills are vital to every industry. In the growing construction sector, they are critical not only for productivity, but also for safety. Without effective leadership, teamwork, and communication, construction projects face significant challenges. Young professionals in this industry must begin to equip themselves with soft skills, then practice and hone them.
For example, being an active listener is a soft skill that allows construction professionals to understand the requirements of various infrastructure projects, especially the technical parts, as communicated by multiple teams. Clear communication, whether through speaking or writing, is necessary to convey information accurately to other project participants, thus avoiding misunderstandings and minimizing costly mistakes. Adaptability, resourcefulness, and creativity are all key skill sets pivotal to addressing challenges and hurdling roadblocks.
The beauty of soft skills is that they can be learned through training and skills development. There are numerous companies today that not only offer hard skills improvement, but also soft skills training.
We at Bentley Systems have engaged in educating today’s youth in the fields of construction and infrastructure. This year, we launched Bentley Education, which encourages the development of future infrastructure professionals for careers in engineering, design, and architecture. The program serves as a catalyst for a career in those fields, exposing youth in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) region and the world to the possibilities in engineering, architecture, and construction (AEC) industries. By increasing the awareness of students and educators about these industries as a career choice, the professions will be strengthened further by diversity and inclusion.
To give you an idea of how we’ve been promoting careers in infrastructure, the program’s methodology includes linking participants with some of today’s leading experts, who share insights on emerging trends in AEC. Students also have the opportunity to interact with their peers. These opportunities are fundamental for strengthening students’ technical and soft skills.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Professor Ayman Elsayed, a professor of harbor engineering and offshore structures at Ain Shams University’s faculty of engineering program, said, “Over 1,000 undergraduate and postgraduate face challenges while studying and exploring infrastructure design and construction industry. Bentley academic software […] can overcome the challenges and offers an opportunity for students to get full access to Bentley learning applications with vast experience and high capabilities. […] Students can make their dreams come true by executing all future infrastructure projects accurately.”
You can also hear about how the Bentley Education platform helped Elif Gungormus Deliismail, a student at the Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey, win the Judge’s Choice Award at the first Future Infrastructure Star Challenge (FISC) competition.
Tangible, real-world skills in any work environment are an important ingredient for achieving smooth and effective collaboration among teams. But simply learning about soft skills is not enough. Like anything else, they should be practiced for improvement. A professional can then implement what they know by joining organizations outside work and playing an active role in collaborative initiatives.
Soft skills are highly valuable. They are vital to your success as an individual and as a professional.