McKinsey & Company’s global survey on reskilling reported that the proportion of companies addressing empathy and interpersonal skills doubled in 2020, while Deloitte predicts that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.
Yet soft skills have been undervalued or overlooked, and are still surrounded by myths such as: they are inherent and cannot be learned; they are secondary skills or non-essential; they only matter in customer service or client-facing positions; they are more commonly present in extraverts or certain groups of people; and they are equitable to language and communication skills. So what is the truth behind these myths- how important are “soft skills” and what are we willing to invest in developing them?
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
2. What is the most memorable “success story” or “lesson learned” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
Lessons learned and consideration for the future
3. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
4. What are the “soft-skills” that you’re hearing are valued in your industry?
5. What would be your biggest piece of advice to individuals in Canada trying to start and/or advance their careers and navigate the future of work?
Advice to Employees and Job Seekers
Advice to Employers
6. Any parting words of wisdom, calls to action, or questions for consideration you’d like to pose to our audience?
7. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
A key takeaway from the discussion was that while people think “soft skills” are easy to learn, they are actually “hard skills”. Relationship and communication skills are difficult to learn, yet they are foundational skills needed in every industry.
Our panelists also discussed the importance of lifelong learning to think and do things differently than how you have done in the past, and of being vulnerable and self aware to better understand what you are lacking and how you can grow yourself and build valuable skill sets.
Guiding discussion questions:
4. What is one thing your organization is continuously iterating on to adopt or advance your use of technology?
About the panelists:
Jennifer Phillips, Executive Director, Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce
Jennifer was born in Manitoba and grew up in Ontario, but has called Yellowknife home since 2016. Jennifer started her professional career with the Federal Government of Canada in 2002, relocating to Yellowknife in 2016.
During her time in Yellowknife, Jennifer has had the opportunity to travel to many of the 33 Northern communities. She has recently finished her Masters’ Degree in Political Science at Brock University. Jennifer looks forward to continuing her previous years of community and volunteer service here in Yellowknife, and remains committed to supporting the local arts and business community.
Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce
Established in 1973, the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce (NWT Chamber) is the largest and most broadly – based business organization North of 60, with representation from every region of the NT. Working in association with the network of community chambers in Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Hay River, Thebacha and Yellowknife, the NWT Chamber represents the interests of members across the NT. For over 45 years we have been the only pan-territorial voice of businesses across all sectors of the northern economy.
The NWT Chamber provides services through 3 core objectives: Member Service & Marketing, Policy Positions and Advocacy Services, Administration and Governance. The NWT Chamber works to promote and create business opportunities, foster business development, and serve as a channel for professional business relationships between members, all levels of governments and business organizations. Working with the Community Chambers, Territorial business organizations and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the NWT Chamber advocates and lobbies all levels of government on issues and initiatives impacting the business community in the NWT.
Dr. Kerry Lynn Durnford, Program Head, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Post-BSN, Aurora College
Dr. Kerry Lynn Durnford has been an educator at Aurora College, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for 20 years and is currently the Program Head for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and post Registered Nursing programs in the School of Health & Human Services, and a certified nurse educator from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. Kerry Lynn attained a registered nursing diploma from the General Hospital School of Nursing, and undergraduate and masters of nursing degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She completed a doctorate in education from Western University in 2019, where she focused on student persistence and success in post-secondary education.
Aurora College delivers programs and courses as close to the communities as possible. This is achieved through a network of three regional campuses as well as Community Learning Centres in most of our communities. They offer a broad range of programming, from Developmental Studies to certificate, diploma and degree programs. Their programs and services give our students the vocational and professional skills, communication skills and life skills needed for success in their chosen careers.
Aurora College has begun the journey to transform into a polytechnic university with the goal of opening in 2025. The polytechnic university will combine academic excellence with practical hands-on learning, please join us on this exciting journey.
Aurora College serves a population of 45,000 dispersed across 1.3 million square kilometres in 33 communities in the Northwest Territories. A majority of Aurora College students are Indigenous. Many of their students are from small, remote communities.
Erika Hildebrand, Partner, Venor
As a recent Partner and one of the first employees with Venor, Erika leads the engineering, construction and operations division for Atlantic Canada. She has more than 16 years of recruitment experience working from mid level positions up to executive level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction and other industries within Atlantic Canada. Although currently based in Atlantic Canada, she began her career in Alberta, where she moved shortly after graduating from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Certificate in Human Resource Management. She loves the ever-changing challenges involved in what she does and thrives when meeting and working with diverse clients and companies. She is proud to say that she has moved more than two dozen Atlantic Canadians back home for job opportunities.
Venor was created by two partners who shared a vision and a passion for building a different kind of talent firm. Venor works because they work for you. They are proactive, nimble and relationship-focused. They treat our clients as partners. Venor’s goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with the talent we represent. Their vast networks allow them to consistently deliver the right recruitment and talent solutions for long-term success.
Whether it’s bringing a key leader back to the Maritimes from their experience abroad, or helping a local company expand their operations internationally, Venor finds success through the success of their clients and the talent they represent. The business climate in Atlantic & Eastern Canada is surging, but the standard for care remains high in our close-knit ecosystem. That’s why Venor works – they are a relationship-centric search firm and talent partner, not a transactional staffing company. While they pride themselves on their efficiency and resourcefulness, they still go above and beyond to ensure quality, integrity and diligence. It’s an approach that earns them the business of like-minded leaders focused on long-term outcomes.
Bottom line: whether you’re a client or a candidate, Venor invests in your talent.