The Areas Professionals Want Help In the Most

September 17, 2018

See the areas professionals want help in the most.

What are the areas professionals would really love some help in?

Well, when you ask them, rarely will they say a “hard” skill like mastering Excel or grasping AWS. Instead, it’s almost always a “soft” skill, like “how to be more confident on the phone” or “how to be a better leader” or “how to be assertive, without being confrontational.”

Or so, that’s what the data says.

Diving into the Data: Professionals Want to Learn How to Lead, Be Assertive, Best Manage Their Time

Recently at LinkedIn Learning, we asked 3,000 professionals the area they wanted help in the most. The overwhelming majority of them said something related to building stronger relationships at work or making the most out of their time.

Specifically, the single word that came up most in their responses was “leadership.” Other popular words were “confidence”, “understanding people”, “time management” and “communication.”

Here are a few answers professionals wrote:

  • “I am great at written communication but often freeze up in verbal conversation if I feel intimidated. Would like to be able to feel more confident and make better eye contact.”

  • “I would like information on how to succeed in business while balancing your commitment to your profession with your personal life and family.”

  • “Helping understand the balance between confidence and arrogance. On one hand women are told to always ask for more (recognition, pay, etc.) but you risk coming off as ungrateful. Having someone to offer perspective would be helpful.”

  • “How to increase my strategic networking to build my professional networks and leverage my professional reputation particularly when changing industries or sectors.”

This is validated by LinkedIn Learning usage as well: when we look at our list of most popular courses, the vast majority of them are soft skills. And, when we asked business leaders, 57 percent said soft skills were more important than hard skills.

Why Do People Want More Help With Soft Skills?

The million-dollar question. Every data pull we do validates that people tend to want – and need – more help with soft skills over hard skills. But why?

There are many theories. One is we get much more training on hard skills than soft ones. For example, virtually all software engineers have taken many software engineering courses; far fewer have taken a course on being assertive.

Another is that learning a soft skill might help your career more. Yes, you need hard skills to land a job – but often, to move up in your career, you need to develop soft skills like leadership, collaboration and executive presence.

But, regardless of why, here’s the good news: learning a soft skill isn’t much different than learning a hard skill. If you put the time in by watching a course, learning from others and practicing those techniques, you’ll grow stronger in it over time.

Are you looking to get stronger in a particularly soft skill? These LinkedIn Learning courses can help – and they are all 100% free: