News & Events

It’s Time to Brush Up On Your Soft Skills in the Age of Remote Working, Part 2



YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre remains closed for in-person programs in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  We will continue to provide remote services via email, telephone, and social media (Facebook).

We believe it is important to maintain your job search momentum. As such the Employment and Learning Centre will offer you daily job search advice and support that you can complete from home.

Today’s post is another post in the series….

The need for soft skills is especially acute among Canada’s small-business owners, 81 percent of whom have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and 32 percent of whom are concerned about the viability of their business, according to a recent study by CIBC.

“Companies change and they pivot and they have to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, and the pandemic is a really good example of that; we’ve all had to change and shift and be flexible with how we work,” explains Cissy Pau, the principal consultant at Vancouver-based small-business consulting agency Clear HR Consulting. “That’s the beauty of a small business; you can change relatively quickly if the people you have working there can adapt relatively quickly.”

While the pandemic has further emphasized the value of being adaptable and flexible, there remains a gap between the skills that employers are demanding and the skills recent graduates can offer, according to a study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada.

The report explores how educational institutions are struggling to equip graduates with the most in-demand soft skills in the job market and concludes that we’ve only just begun to understand how much of an impact those attributes can have. According to the report’s authors, the pandemic will only further emphasize the value of those attributes in the workplace moving forward.

“As time has gone on, we become more specific about what those skills actually are that make for a good employee or a good manager,” explains Stephen Higham, a research associate for the Conference Board of Canada. “The pandemic re-emphasizes the importance of these skills, and not just for employees, but the social and emotional skills of leaders as well,” adds senior research associate Maria Giammarco.

According to its authors, the study was originally inspired by the rise of automation, artificial intelligence and the potential threat of further technological disruption, but has taken on a different and perhaps greater significance since the pandemic began.

Dr. McKean, Dr. Giammarco and Mr. Higham suggest that these social and emotional skills are only going to increase in value as the workplace continues to evolve as a result of the pandemic, automation and the expectation of more disruptions in the future.

“No matter what happens, we’re going to continue to place value on those skills that help people navigate crises like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and empathy,” Mr. Higham says. “I can’t imagine that trend slowing down any time soon.”

 Your Employment and Learning staff are working remotely through email or over the telephone.  Should you have any questions about resumes, job interviews, job interview questions, how to prepare, or how to answer those difficult questions, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support.  You can reach us at:

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.

You can view the full original article by Jared Lindzon at The Globe and Mail, at: