Educational Programs That Foster Soft Skill Development

June 12, 2019
Author: Tyran Saffold Jr

With advances in artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, the next generation should be prepared for the jobs that haven’t yet been created. One McKinsey report predicts that by 2030, 30 percent of today’s occupations will be automated. In addition, 20 to 50 million jobs could be added to the global workforce through advances in technology. The technological breakthroughs will make way for a new set of skills to enhance company performance in the upcoming years.

Human resource departments will go through the task of upskilling or hiring new employees to fill roles that automation and AI will create. The concern is that a large majority of executives believe that the next generation is not equipped to handle the automated workforce of tomorrow. That makes the job of finding the right employees an even more daunting task for HR managers.

Soft Skill Development

College Courses Will Play a Role

According to a study by Georgetown University, college degrees will become more of a necessity as four-year universities and similar programs will have a say in how the next generation is prepped for the future of automation. Whether directly or indirectly, there are courses designed to develop communication skills as well as critical and analytical thinking—all falling under the soft skill umbrella.
With machine automation ready to do more manual and repetitive tasks by 2025, our most human traits will become the catalysts of employment. So, which programs should garner more attention from HR reps and talent coordinators as they search for the right employees to fill job openings?


Diane K. Danielson, Chief Operating Officer at Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, supports those who have attained these specific types of degrees. “Not only have (humanities majors) studied people, they have generally learned to write, speak and communicate,” she wrote in a communication to “Plus, most humanities courses require critical thinking skills and that, in and of itself, is something employers like us seek out.”

Humanities cover a wide range of subjects while unintentionally developing and refining soft skills in the process. Regardless of it being a stroke of luck or pure genius foresight, humanities students have positioned themselves well in the workforce of tomorrow.
Communication Arts

Graduates with a degree in communication arts may have career trajectories as public relation specialists, social media planners, business reporters, paralegals, and human relations managers, just to name a few. In a world where nearly, everything is done on the Internet, the demand for dynamic communicators is greater than in previous decades. Whether it’s a meticulously planned product launch or a memo to update the executive team on strategic items, alums with a communications background have valuable soft skills.

Adam Johnson, a Search Engine Optimization Specialist at QuoteWizard in Seattle, had a lot to say about those who graduate with these degrees. “Communication arts majors are preferred candidates for content marketing roles,” says Johnson. “The writing and outreach skills of these students are desired in business roles that build brand awareness and attract buyers organically. Ideal candidates are those who have built a significant following with their blog or social page. They understand how to produce quality content and build an audience.”
The Internet is here, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. With that, digital marketing has switched from an added plus to a mandatory requirement for both new and established companies. In order to survive, companies need a team of individuals who have a clear understanding of how to market a company to a new generation of internet savvy consumers.

Social Sciences

Students with a strong foundation in the social sciences have taken the time to learn what drives individuals and groups. This knowledge is essential for any business looking for innovative sales strategies or improved organizational management.

Pete Abilla, founder and CEO of, weighed in on the subject. “I've been very pleasantly surprised by majors in the humanities and social sciences,” he says. “I've found that employees with those backgrounds are well-rounded, not narrow in their thinking, and they are quick learners.”

As time progresses, the least common programs will be viewed in a different light as they help refine the soft skills that HR reps and talent coordinators will seek to fill newly created positions within their companies. Automation, AI and machine learning will become more prevalent in the future and, in the end, our most human traits will be the very things that keep us employed.