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The top transferrable skills you need for a sustainable career path

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

In a landscape of ever-changing market trends and technologies, it pays to keep your skills as adaptable as possible. 

Alongside Australia’s burgeoning need for tech talent, employees are also encouraged to build upon their “soft skills”: invaluable personality traits and behaviours that are less susceptible to the rise of automation. Having these abilities under your belt not only improves your employability on the job market but also helps secure future opportunities for a more sustainable career path.

Below, we explore the top transferrable skills Australian employers are looking for, and how to adopt them for a “future-proof” career.  

What are transferrable skills? 

Also known as “portable skills”, transferrable skills are abilities that can be easily applied from one job to another. 

These mainly comprise of “soft skills” that are less about the technical knowledge you possess, but rather your specific personality traits or behaviours. Examples include your interpersonal abilities (i.e. how well you communicate, build relationships, demonstrate empathy), collaboration skills, flexibility, adaptability, critical thinking, creativity, and work ethic – among others. Such skills are valued in any role, regardless of your industry.

However, depending on current industry demands, transferrable skills may also refer to certain technical abilities. For example, with 87% of Australian jobs now requiring digital literacy, certain tech skills (such as basic use of cloud, data, and security tools) are now becoming a mandatory requirement – and thus, a transferrable skill across industries.  

What are the top transferrable skills required for a sustainable career path? 

Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking is the process involved in gathering, analysing, and applying the information you have on hand to come to a conclusion or solution. Problem solving is thus a product of this thought process – the practice of assessing all factors in a situation to generate the best possible options moving forward. 

No matter your industry, unexpected problems or issues are bound to occur. Employers thus value workers who are able to approach these with a level head, evaluate all possible options, and pursue those that have the least negative impact on their colleagues and the company’s business systems. 

Demonstrating your competency in either area also shows employers that you’re creative and logical, as well as perceptive, reliable, and able to express your ideas well. 


Creativity lays the foundation for new ideas and innovation, making it a highly valued soft skill – even landing the top spot in LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report for 2019. It allows workers to question existing traditions, practices, and decisions; allowing them to think “out-of-the-box” and craft ideas that may improve current solutions. Without creativity, businesses may cease to evolve and keep pace with market competition.
Having creative thinking skills is thus highly sought-after wherever you go, as even the most technical of jobs require at least some form of creativity to succeed in their tasks. It’s a trait that can also often lead to greater workplace engagement, higher morale, and overall better productivity. 

Emotional intelligence

Of course, building your career isn’t just about the tasks you perform day-in, day-out. The ability to form healthy, long-lasting professional relationships is also crucial, helping expand your industry network and paving the way for future career opportunities. This can also benefit your overall workplace engagement, as the ability to collaborate and get along well with your colleagues helps promote a positive work environment and greater overall productivity. 

As such, emotional intelligence is a critical soft skill to have in any career. This typically comprises five components: your self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills, and empathy. Each of these allow for more constructive and encouraging interactions with your colleagues, managers, clients, and stakeholders. 

Communication and collaboration 

The ability to communicate and work with others is a staple in any job, regardless of your field. In an era of rising remote work, however, communication is a more valued skill than ever. 

Employees who excel in workplace communication often contribute to a more productive, trusting, and innovative business – helping them confidently express their ideas, build fruitful professional relationships, and delegate tasks effectively. The skill, as a result, also lends to one’s collaborative abilities; a strength in any team-oriented business. In fact, in a recent Hays survey of 3,500 Australian employers, “teamwork” was cited as the most important soft skill by 81% of respondents (with 74% citing “communication” as their priority). 


In a constantly changing business landscape, it pays to stay adaptable to new industry trends and skills demands. Such a skill has been proven all the more critical in the face of COVID-19, an unexpected pandemic that changed the face of the global economy as we knew it. Both companies and workers alike scrambled to keep pace with evolving new market needs – with those most flexible finding greater success. 
Being an adaptable individual is thus key to “future-proofing” your career opportunities, ensuring you’re open to new ideas and able to pivot when the times call for change. With our sectors undergoing rapid digital transformations, workers can’t afford to stay rigid in the same tried-and-true traditions. 

Digital skills

Finally, brushing up on your digital skills is critical to building a sustainable career path in today’s world. Industries are relying on automated systems and online technologies more than ever – which not only builds the value of digital literacy, but has turned it into an increasingly critical aspect of any job role.

Such skills include the ability to program basic code, use automated technologies (or better yet, develop such systems), leverage cloud computing technologies, and optimise ICT tools for business productivity.  
What were once skillsets inclusive to the tech field have become employment staples across our global industries – making them key to sustaining your career and expanding your opportunities in the digital sector. 

How to develop transferrable skills 

  1. Keep up to date with the latest skills demands. Transferrable skills depend on what the economy currently values in its workers, so it helps to stay updated on what today’s companies generally look for in employees. Pay attention to the latest news among industry publications; online communities and social media (i.e. LinkedIn); and government reports to keep yourself in the loop. You may even want to consider pursuing a course (or a few), allowing you to upskill through comprehensive formal training. 
  2. Engage in collaborative projects. Working with others in your field is an effective way of building transferrable soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and adaptability. Take the time to participate in team-oriented projects within your workplace or pursue out-of-work ventures with other field professionals through industry associations, online hubs, or among your personal connections. 
  3. Pursue your own personal projects. Lastly, make room for pursuing your own personal ventures. This helps build your self-motivation and initiative, on top of challenging your creativity – all soft skills applicable to any industry. Additionally, you’ll get to nurture your passion for your field, as all ideas, efforts, and the rewards you reap are your own.  

As mentioned, developing your transferrable skills can be helped through formal course training. Upskilled currently offers a variety of short courses that cater to such abilities – from soft skills in business to in-demand basic tech skills. Each program is delivered online, helping you study at a time, place, and pace that suits you best. 

Build the skills you need for a sustainable career, and enquire with us on a course today. 

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