ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

All Posts

Why Soft Skills are Necessary for Growth in Automation Industries

The value of soft skills in the workplace is something that many companies have placed more of an emphasis on in recent years. In fact, many business leaders consider soft skills such as communication, empathy, creativity, and ethics an essential component to the success of recruits. Without these traits, many believe their company would be missing the “secret sauce” for long-term prosperity.

Though many industries have long accepted the subtle value of soft skills, many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries haven’t. Many are just now starting to incorporate these skills into how they make hiring decisions. These changes are likely to lead to some real benefits for STEM industries, including automation.

The world of automation is changing quickly, with numerous new directions and challenges for those employed in it. Incorporating soft skills is a powerful and even essential path forward for many of the leaders in the industry.

The Benefits of Soft Skills 

The ability to work together on projects and communicate effectively cannot be understated. This is true in many settings, but especially when it comes to engineering large projects. A group of employees that have these skills can be the difference between using critical thinking to work through all the small problems and having a team that is struggling to work together to accomplish anything.

Many careers in STEM fields, including automation, may typically attract more introverted personalities. This isn’t necessarily an automatic pass for disregarding soft skills, such as communication. Some of the best team leaders can be introverts because they often have better listening skills, a greater ability to communicate with difficult personalities, and can create a calming presence.

In the world of remote work, soft skills are proving to be even more valuable. Leaders and team members who can communicate well remotely are seeing success, while those without soft skills have seen a disintegration of their teams. Being able to communicate and collaborate well, remain flexible in changing conditions, and have empathy towards coworkers in difficult situations are critical to remote work.

Where Soft Skills Meet Automation 

Automation lends itself to those that have soft skills and a desire to continue to learn throughout their lives. This career path is all about having the creativity to try new things and work towards a more efficient system. In many ways, having soft skills can work to enhance the hard skills that many engineers already have.

For instance, many experts believe that both soft and hard skills are nearly essential to working successfully with AI or robotics. Professionals working in these fields need to have the engineering know-how to complete the advanced technical work associated with robotics. But they also need to have the human skills to create something that fits seamlessly into normal life.

This value on soft skills is similar throughout many IT positions associated with automation. After all, everything that has to do with technology was designed for people to make their lives easier. That doesn’t necessarily work if the tech wasn’t developed with some forethought about how people act. Likewise, most of this tech doesn’t happen in a quiet corner; rather, teams of people working together to make these ideas a reality.


Although many STEM fields haven’t always focused on soft skills, they are now. There are numerous benefits to having employees with a strong ability to communicate, collaborate, think creatively, and so on. In the world of automation, these skills are becoming more valuable than ever before. After all, tech is designed to work for and with humans.

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

Related Posts

Four Reasons Why Automation Is the Future of Metal Fabrication

Although automated fabrication was once a relatively niche possibility, more shop managers consider it a ...
Emily Newton Apr 24, 2024 9:40:13 AM

IoT Solutions World Congress: Why Barcelona is the Place to Be in May

A century ago, automation solutions arrived to transform manual industrial tasks. This century, the digit...
Renee Bassett Apr 2, 2024 7:00:00 AM

3 Ways Industry 4.0 Can Upgrade Industrial Water Treatment Methods

Industrial water treatment methods must evolve to remain relevant and efficient. Many decision-makers hav...
Emily Newton Mar 12, 2024 7:38:26 PM