Transferable skills – or why you should ask for a salary raise after parental leave

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The best management training you can get

In case you are just returning from parental leave, have you ever thought of asking for a salary raise. Yes? That`s so great, as you know your value! No? Why not? Didn’t you know that you just completed successfully one of the toughest management courses you can get?

You don’t think so? Ok, grab a coffee or tea, take a seat and think again. What is it you learned and trained the last months or maybe years? How organized you had become.  How you learned to be flexible and to prioritize by heart, to delegate. How you learned to be creative, effective and efficient at the same time – even with no sleep, often in chaos. How you learned with your child, with every new situation. How you dealt with failures and just tried again until you found a solution. How you learned to form a team, your family. Sound familiar? Those are all typical management skills.

I know, unfortunately, still too often too many people use the term “family manager” with a condescending smile. Don’t jump on that train. Heads up! As mom and as dad, you develop a whole set of skills along your parental journey – and of course not only during parental leave – skills that are highly relevant in today’s rapidly changing business world. Skills that can be easily transferred from unpaid care work into paid workforce. We are talking about transferable skills.

What are transferable skills?

A transferable skill is a talent or an ability which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations. Transferable skills can be hard skills, which are easy to quantify like computer skills, and soft skills, which are harder-to-quantify skills like time management. All skills and abilities can be transferable – depending on where they are being transferred to and from. 

You may have transferable skills from previous jobs, school or private learning environments such as for example caring for relatives, being actively involved in sport activities or voluntary work or – as mentioned before – experiencing parenthood. It’s especially in private learning environments where we acquire lots of informal abilities that often stay hidden and unused in a paid job just because we are not aware of them or don’t value them as we should.

Soft transferable skills? Essential skills!

Transferable soft skills are in many ways more relevant than hard/technical skills because without these talents all the know-how, expertise and experience in a dynamic working environment would not be deployed in an optimal way. Why?  Well, when I studied business administration in university years ago, I learned that soft skills aim at rising motivation and lower resistive positions among employees to increase the willingness to cooperate within an organization. Soft skills are like grease in an organization’s (technical) gearing. They make the company work. You see, transferable soft skills are not only important and complimentary skills, they are essential skills in our rapidly changing business world.

Which are typical transferable skills?

As you learned before, every skill can be a transferable skill. It just depends on where they are being transferred to and from. But due to the rising skill gap caused by digitization there are lot of current studies highlighting transferable skills that are urgently needed in the so-called working world 4.0. And here it comes: required (transferable) future skills are not just digital skills: human and meta skills become extremely important, such as communication skills, empathy, learning agility, self-management, self-reflection, adaptability and many more.

Ready for your treasure hunt?

Besides school, further education and within the job, every one of us has developed and acquired a bunch of hidden skills in our very private learning environments. And it’s up to us to go on inner treasure hunt, discover our very own “gold nuggets”, reflect them, make them transferable and use them proactively for our professional career and our next salary review. How to do so, this we’ll find out in one of the next articles.

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