The secret to a successful career may be good social skills

Gillian B. White

What does it take to get ahead in today’s job market? While it might seem like specialized technical skills are the only way to compete in an increasingly difficult economy, that’s not the case. To really get ahead, what a worker needs is social skills.

How’s that? Over the next two decades, nearly half of U.S. jobs may become obsolete due to automation, one recent study found. What are workers to do? Become more human, suggests David J. Deming of Harvard. Deming argues that social skills have already become increasingly important in recent decades, especially for those looking for high-wage, competitive positions. 

According to Deming, positions that require both cognitive and social skills have shown more wage growth in the past few decades than those that require high-levels of mathematical or analytical training but little social prowess. And those wage gains hold true across all levels of employment.

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