Employers want Power Skills. Do you have them?

More employers today are seeking employees with Power Skills. Power skills? What are they? Do you need them? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Power skills are a differentiator. When considering two people for the same position, employers will select the person with power skills every time. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducts an annual survey of employers. Recently, it found that 80% of employers ranked power skills as more important than technical and computer skills. While there is no substitute for knowing the technical ins and outs of your job, technical competence is only the starting point. Clearly, no one wants a plumber who doesn’t know the difference between a pipe wrench or a torque wrench or an auto mechanic who can’t distinguish between a carburetor and a crank shaft or imagine a nurse who can’t find a vein to draw blood painlessly! The technical skills of any position can be taught. Employers, often, are willing teach the specifics of a position, but employers rightfully expect that you will come to the job with the Power Skills necessary to succeed.

What exactly are these Power Skills? Power skills have historically been called soft skills. Yet, there is nothing soft about these skills! Power skills consist of the emotional intelligence, personality traits, behaviors and social attitudes that support effective communication, collaboration, and the art of conflict resolution. The seven (7) critical skills that make up power skills are: leadership, teamwork, communication, work ethic, adaptability, and people skills. These attributes are essential to success in any workplace.

Why Power Skills Are Essential

Organizations are looking for employees with these skills because they give a company a quantifiable economic advantage. For example, work ethic is highly prized by employers. Work ethic is a commitment to excellence; to be on time and ready to do your job error free. A 2018 study by The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) documented that employee tardiness effect on the bottom line of the average business is significant. An employee who is late 10 minutes each day has, by the end of the year, taken the equivalent of an unauthorized week’s paid vacation. Another example, of a highly prized power skill is teamwork. The ability to collaborate with others and work across departmental lines for the greater good of the company is highly prized. Likewise, adaptability is the difference between success and failure. If a year of COVID has taught us anything, it has made clear that intellectual agility is the secret sauce of companies that not only survived but thrived and those that shut down under the pandemic restrictions.

Organizations are looking for power skills because these skills improve their bottom lines. Power skills help move the organization achieve the mission. Employees with power skills can solve persistent challenges, remain empathetic toward customers and their colleagues, and can efficiently complete their tasks. CEOs and managers value these traits because it makes the company more successful, and improves corporate culture.

Power skills not only help companies and organizations, but these skills also make it much more likely that you will reach your short-term and long-term career goals. No matter your role or current company, these skills can separate you from competitors, by showing your manager that you are reliable, determined, motivated, and ready to help the company overcome challenges.

Developing Power Skills

Power Skills can be learned and if you have them, can be improved. It is worth the time and investment to acquire and sharpen these skills.

There are no quick and easy hacks to developing these skills. Developing an effective set of Power Skills requires a commitment to continual improvement. It takes time to build Power Skills and as is true with any talent or attribute, it requires practice! You must consistently use these skills in your day-to-day work life to sharpen and hone these skills. For example, if you want to work on your time management skill as part of your work ethic, when given a project, break it into a series of tasks and set deadlines for each step necessary to complete the project. Hold yourself to account. With dedication and determination, your time management will improve.

Identify and engage a mentor to help you to reach your goals. Mentors are a great source of advice, counsel, and constructive feedback. Many mentors will coach you on your areas of needed improvement and growth. Alternatively, many people engage Executive Coaches.

Power skills are so vital to career success, Philadelphia OIC embeds power skills training in every adult workforce and education program. Industry experts from sectors such as finance & banking, environmental services, and smart energy, teach students the intricacies of how to be successful utilizing Power Skills before and after you land a job.

Power skills are true game changers in your career. While anyone can learn the technical skills, it requires a different temperament and commitment to develop Power Skills. If you make the commitment and work at it, Power skills will give you a competitive advantage and will help you achieve your career goals.


Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes
President & CEO | Philadelphia OIC

Storied Workforce Development agency eradicating poverty in Philadelphia.