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Top 10 Soft Skills in 2020 for the Workplace

Source | | Jenn Hourani

Why are soft skills critical for the workplace, in 2020 and beyond? “Humans can imagine things that never have been,” writes Dani Johnson from RedThread Research, in Udemy’s Humanizing Learning report. “We are better able to change our circumstances, [with] a greater ability to innovate and create. Chimps react to their environments and robots iterate; humans can dream futures for themselves that currently don’t exist, and then work toward them.” This Udemy and RedThread research project highlighted the most important human skills that defined our evolution, and now shape our potential to thrive in the age of automation. The report says that envisioning the future, storytelling, collaborating, and using tools are four uniquely human traits that cannot be replicated by robots. 

Moreover, our recent Workplace Learning Trends 2020 report confirms that these skills are being prioritized for training at work, now more than ever. According to learning data on Udemy for Business, employees around the world are increasingly cultivating these human super strengths — creativity, emotional intelligence, storytelling, and more. In the workplace, the impact of these skills is clear: 

  • Organizations that train employees on uniquely human traits like collaboration and storytelling perform better than companies that don’t, according to Udemy’s Humanizing Learning Report.
  • Training in communication and problem-solving can deliver a 12% boost in productivity and retention, yielding a 250% return on investment through increases in efficiency
  • Managers who incorporate soft skills into their leadership approach see a 30% increase in team productivity.
  • Google’s Project Oxygen research found that its most innovative, productive teams and managers were defined by high scores in soft skills.

With this kind of proof, and the unique role humans play in the age of robots, soft skills are critical in the new decade. But where do you start?

The top soft skills of 2020, according to companies around the world

To guide your exploration, Udemy for Business analyzed the learning activity of thousands of global organizations and employees throughout 2019. Based on our research, here are the top 10 soft skills for 2020 that will empower you and your organization to face the challenges of the new decade.

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