A closer look into soft skills
Prior research carried out by the CFA Institute showed that there are four skills required to be successful in an investment management career: Technical, Soft, Leadership, and T-shaped skills (read more here). Interestingly, hiring managers cite soft skills as those they have the most difficulty finding in the investment industry.
Soft skills, unlike technical skills, transcend roles, and in an industry known for technical and quantitative prowess, this is a very different area for professional growth. Of the skills included in the survey (Exhibit 20), the most important soft skill category is influencing, persuading, and negotiating. This was the only skill category that the majority viewed as very important. This becomes apparent when we think of the many ways in which we need to influence internal and external stakeholders in the industry each day: an analyst convincing portfolio managers to buy or sell a security; recommendations to clients to an investment committee to change asset allocation; persuading prospective clients to invest based off your investment style and track record, and negotiating deal transactions.
Collaboration is an area where in-office interaction is still valued, especially when a significant amount of time is needed to solve a problem or to brainstorm ideas. Skills that have become more important in the new world of work include more efficient time management; being effective at influencing, persuading, and negotiating; direct communication; and being more resourceful.
The new working dynamic requires more planning and intentionality, including skill building. The findings in the above chart seem to imply that investment professionals are not as concerned about actively managing their careers, though they do seek ongoing learning. Several roundtable participants mentioned that their organisation has provided training on conducting video presentations, which is a common skill gap in the industry given the relatively recent emphasis on video calls.
Curated by Michelle Ouyang, CFA, research findings from CFA Institute
Date: 10 November 2022
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