Skip to content
All posts

4 Essential Soft Skills for Success in the Public Sector

How much do you value your ability to communicate, be part of a team or manage your time effectively? Do you recognise these as important skills?

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important, making them just as necessary as having technical or ‘hard’ skills.

Hiring managers will often spend more time focusing on your soft, interpersonal skills rather than your technical skills. You may find this frustrating, as hard skills take lots of time to master, but soft skills are just as important in 2023.

Two employees learning essential soft skills for success in the public sector

What are Soft Skills? 

Soft skills are also sometimes referred to as transferable skills or interpersonal skills. These are the type of skills which are more closely linked to your personality, qualities and how you behave as a person.

These types of skills include communication, resilience, empathy, problem-solving, time management, leadership, flexibility, responsibility and self-motivation (to name a few).

Why are Soft Skills Important When Working in the Public Sector?

Working in the public sector means you have a direct impact on making a difference to people in a variety of communities with different needs.

As the need for empathy and understanding grows, having ‘soft’ people skills is important to create both personal, professional and organisational success.

As you will probably already know, there are many different areas which make up the public sector, including:

  • Local Government
  • Central Government
  • Government Agencies
  • Armed Forces
  • Healthcare
  • Emergency Services
  • Schools, Further Education and Higher Education
  • Charities

Each of these different sectors requires various soft skills, but there are four essential ones needed for success.

confidence and resilience training courses cta button

4 Essential Soft Skills for Success in the Public Sector

  1. Written Communication
  2. Verbal Communication
  3. Leadership
  4. Problem Solving & Persuasion

1. Written Communication

Whether it's writing emails, reports, effective minutes or speeches, being able to write both clearly and concisely will enable you to communicate with anyone from your colleagues to the general public or stakeholders. 

2. Verbal Communication

Being able to speak clearly and retain the attention of your audience is key for presentations and pitches or even leading a meeting and bonding with co-workers. This soft skill is particularly important if you have direct contact with service users. For example, if you respond to complaints, you need to know how to actively listen, understand what that person needs and be empathetic to their situation or feelings. 

Anxious when speaking in meetings? Read our 8 tips on overcoming speaking anxiety in meetings and presentations.

3. Leadership

Knowing how to manage and motivate your team is crucial to unlocking potential, improving performance and increasing productivity. 

From improving service delivery, managing a hybrid workforce and knowing how to listen to your employees, leadership skills are one of the top skills the sector needs in 2023.

To help you start improving your leadership skills, download your free copy of our Leadership Skills for Public Sector Professionals Handbook using the button below.

leadership skills handbook for the public sector

4. Problem Solving & Persuasion

Having the ability to react to problems quickly while remaining composed, persuasive and strong in negotiation shows how well you can work in a high-pressure situation. 

Although the public sector is in a better position than during the pandemic, things can still be unpredictable. So, being able to step back, view the bigger picture when it comes to strategy and solve issues is important.

Share or save this handy graphic below to remember the 4 key soft skills for success. Tell us how you're going to improve these essential soft skills on Twitter by tagging us @UModernGov or find us on LinkedIn.

4 Essential ‘Soft’ Skills For Success In The Public Sector

Want to Learn How to Apply These Soft Skills? 

We've got a range of upcoming courses that will help develop your soft skills as a public sector professional. View the full list and book a place here

Chloe Martin
Content Editor

2+ years in SEO and content marketing. Striving to help public sector professionals develop their skills and learn something new through high-quality content.