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The Importance of Soft Skills in Senior Technical Positions

Last month we explored ways to advance your career as a technical professional. One of the areas to focus on for this includes developing your soft skills. This month at KPR Insights, we take a deep dive into the nuances of soft skills development, especially as they apply to those working in technical roles in the mining, renewable energy and oil and gas industries.

As a specialist technical recruitment agency, KPR recognizes the significance of soft skills in senior positions overseeing technical professionals in industries such as mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy. While strong analytical skills and technical knowledge are essential requirements, personal skills such as communication, cultural awareness, and customer focus are increasingly becoming critical differentiators for senior roles in these industries.

Recruiters in South Africa see daily that employers invite candidates for interviews based on their backgrounds, but hire candidates based on their personalities. This is especially true for highly skilled and experienced candidates. Therefore, the more experience and seniority a role requires, the more personal skills are taken into account. For instance, a technical manager without excellent communication skills is unlikely to thrive in a senior position.

Strong Communication Skills

The ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and effectively with colleagues, external consultants, and other stakeholders is crucial. In industries like mining and oil and gas, where operations are complex and highly regulated, misunderstandings or miscommunications can have serious implications.

Cultural Awareness

Another important soft skill is the ability to deal with people from different backgrounds and cultures. In South Africa, where there are many different cultures and languages, this is especially relevant. Senior technical managers need to be able to work with people from diverse backgrounds and understand their perspectives to achieve their goals.

Customer Focus

Customer focus is another crucial soft skill for senior technical managers. This means that they must be able to understand the needs and demands of their internal customers, such as other departments or senior executives, and deliver services or products that meet their needs. In industries like renewable energy, where there is a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental concerns, a customer-focused approach is key.

Pragmatic Work

Finally, senior technical managers must have a pragmatic approach to their work. They must be able to balance technical solutions with practical considerations, and understand that simple solutions are often the best. This is especially important in industries like mining and oil and gas, where there may be complex regulatory frameworks and technical challenges that need to be overcome.


In conclusion, the importance of soft skills in senior technical positions cannot be overstated. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who not only have the technical skills but also possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. In South Africa, specialist technical recruitment agencies like KPR play an important role in identifying candidates with the right mix of technical and soft skills to succeed in senior technical positions in industries like mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Seniority and experience increase the importance of these skills, and candidates must continuously develop them to thrive in their careers. As a specialist technical recruitment agency, KPR recognizes the significance of personal skills, and we advise candidates to reflect on their soft skills when applying for senior positions.

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