These soft skills will boost your chance of landing a high-paying job in the USA

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You have to play hardball if you want to climb the career ladder to the best-paying jobs, right?

Not anymore (this isn’t the 1980s!) Instead, employers are increasingly turning to employees with the right soft skills to complement the corporate approach and drive growth in the right way.

But what soft skills are employers looking for when hiring for the top jobs in the US?

Find the answer to that question in this latest study from CashNetUSA.

Based on data from job descriptions for the best-paying roles advertised on Indeed, it highlights the most in-demand soft skills across every US state and some of its major cities.

Here’s a rundown of what came out on top.

The number one soft skill for high-paying jobs in the USA

Looking for a high-paying job in the USA? Then it’s time to start working on your strategic thinking skills. It’s now a job requirement in more than 6 out of 10 (64.77%) high-paying roles advertised in the USA, making it the most in-demand soft skill in today’s employment market.

Soft skills for high-paying jobs across every US state

New Yorkers run at a million miles an hour. They have an opinion about everything and are not afraid to tell you about it. It’s part of the unique New York charm. However, it doesn’t always facilitate the best working environment. That’s why more and more companies in New York State are advertising for employees with active listening skills.

Massachusetts companies are looking for high achievers who are still willing to learn and develop. Humility is this state’s most in-demand soft skill.

And there must be some serious tension in many workplaces across the USA. Several states want employees with conflict management soft skills. They include Iowa, Maine, and California.

Less IQ, more EQ

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the top in-demand soft skill in Montana, Utah, and Oklahoma.

But what exactly is EQ?

First of all, it’s very real. And just like IQ, it varies from person to person.

The best definition of EQ is the ability to understand and manage our own feelings, and those of others, in a healthy and constructive way. In other words, a high EQ equals a keen awareness of what it means to be human.

Soft skills in New York

What’s the point of having a great idea if you don’t know how to tell anyone about it?

Communication is vital in business, which is why New York firms want people who know how to get the right messages across, in the right way; more than half of all high-paying roles advertised in the Big Apple list presentation skills and negotiation skills in the required section of the job description.

The soft approach in Los Angeles

Presentation and negotiation skills also score highly in LA, appearing in more than 60% of adverts for the best jobs.

But the most in-demand skill is strategic thinking. The research from CashNetUSA shows it’s now an essential soft skill for almost 7 out of 10 high-paying jobs in the City of Angels.

The power of persuasion in Chicago

Chicago is the only city where persuasion is the most in-demand soft skill. The art of bringing someone around to your point of view appears in 71% of high-paying job adverts.

So what’s the key to persuading a business colleague? According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” it’s about showing people what’s in it for them.

“Before you say anything,” writes Carnegie, “Pause, then ask yourself, ‘How can I make this person want to do it?'”

Driving inclusion in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the USA’s most liberal, diverse, and forward-thinking cities. So it’s unsurprising that many of its employers want staff who can drive and empower more inclusion in the workforce.

Mentoring is another soft skill that will help you land a top job in San Francisco. This soft skill is required for almost half of jobs that pay big bucks for the best talent.

Finding a high-paying job in Austin

Thousands of Americans have abandoned their home states for a new life in Texas.

Austin is the city of choice for many of these professional expats. Their arrival has turned the city’s job market into a fierce competition, especially for the best-paying jobs in Austin’s booming tech sector.

But those with the right combination of soft skills have a huge advantage. According to the city’s job listings on Indeed, strategic thinking, EQ, and critical thinking will help you stand out from all the other candidates.

About the author


Lee McCullagh