Soft skills to be one of the most important attributes for the workforce in the next ten years says leading businesses

Allstate NI, EY and Herbert Smith Freehills are set to hold the second event in their ‘Your Child, Their Future’ virtual series focused on ‘soft skills’

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the World Economic Forum have identified soft skills as being crucial to the future jobs market. With significant unemployment expected in Northern Ireland because of Covid-19, the positive impact which a focus on skills can have on economic recovery through increasing productivity, competitiveness and innovation is being capitalised on by Allstate NI, EY and Herbert Smith Freehills.

Despite the growth in modern technology, the importance of so called ‘soft skills’ such as emotional intelligence, communication, creativity, empathy, listening and collaboration have been underlined as being crucial for overall success in the workplace.

In their assessment and recommendations for the upcoming Northern Ireland Skills Strategy, OECD have noted that developing relevant skills and using them effectively is crucial for Northern Ireland’s ability to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world.

Following on from a hugely successful first event – these local firms will once again come together to host this bespoke event focused on the soft skills required to succeed in future employment.

This free, virtual event which will take place on Tuesday 10 November at 6pm will be delivered by leading professionals from the three companies who themselves are parents and are having similar conversations with their own children.

Hosted by Sarah Travers, it seeks to help parents begin early discussions with their children on career aspirations, specifically highlighting why certain soft skills are vital and how they will aid employment opportunities in the future.

Allstate NI, EY and Herbert Smith Freehills represent three diverse sectors of the Northern Ireland economy bringing together renowned expertise in IT, Legal and Professional Services.

The three companies currently employ more than 4,000 people across Northern Ireland.

Paul Cassidy, Head of L&D at Allstate Northern Ireland commented:

“After the success of the first event, we’re thrilled to be collaborating again to make sure parents and children right across Northern Ireland know what skills are required to succeed in future careers. It is in the interest of all us, both parents and business leaders that the future generation are equipped with the necessary skills in the various industries.”

“Soft skills are of increasing importance to all businesses. Due to the exponential growth in technology such as Artificial Intelligence in recent years, there is sometimes a misconception that emotional intelligence, communication, and collaboration for example are not crucial to success. However, from our perspective, these are absolutely crucial regardless if the work takes place in front of a computer screen or not.”  

Ian Edwards, UK & Ireland Tax Partner, EY Northern Ireland added:

“Since the start of the pandemic, the world of work has changed dramatically therefore the skills required will also change. What we hope to show through this event is that while certain technical knowledge can be learnt quite easily, there needs to be a focus on those vital soft skills from an early age. Without strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate clearly, listen to colleagues and empathise with certain situations, it will be more difficult to succeed.”

Suzanne Cowan, Senior Manager, Legal (Corporate), Alternative Legal Services (UK, US, EMEA), Herbert Smith Freehills concluded:

“As parents and business leaders, we all recognise the difficult position our children are in as a result of Covid-19. The normal working environment has changed pretty dramatically in recent months which of course brings new challenges but also opportunities.”

“We hope that this event can direct parents and children to the skills required to achieve success in their future careers. In most jobs, technical skills alone are not enough to be truly effective and it is also true that the soft skills required can take longer to perfect. Therefore, we hope this event can give all children a head start in their career.”

To register for this event please visit: