Specific and transferable skills which one to focus on? What types of skills are there? Are the skills all the same? Do they have the same weight and importance? Does the professional carry and use all of them, regardless of the scenario, position or company? And if they have different levels of importance and applicability, which one is better to focus development on?
There are two types of skills that it is important to know and know the difference between, they are specific skills and transferable skills.
Every position has a set of skills necessary for its performance (whether known or unknown), in the same way every professional has a set of skills within himself. Therefore, it is essential that HR know how to accurately analyze which skills are really needed for the position and for the company, and know how to identify their presence in professionals and candidates. This is because competence presupposes delivery, it is an asset, but it can only be considered as such when it brings results.
Do you know what the difference is between them and which one to focus on?
Specific competencies are applicable in a single reality. They are only used when the professional changes company and the new company has similar conditions to the previous one (same sector, position and organizational disposition).
Are you able to take these skills with you to the next company or position you are going to work for? Think about the following, as a rule, is it possible to take your colleague with you? Is it possible to take the system, standard or technical knowledge and apply it in any situation? The less portable the competency, the more specific it is, the harder it is to take to another organization.
Transferable skills are multipurpose and perennial, broad and positively add to the professional, regardless of the characteristics of their next job and company. This is because they are applicable and, depending on the competence in question, fundamental in all scenarios.
Transferable skills you can take them to other contexts and apply in different challenges. In practice, you can use extroversion, leadership skills or teamwork in any location and situation.
Based on a study of twenty General Electric alumni, Boris Groysberg and other Harvard Business School scholars reported that the transferability of skills has several dimensions.
See the Boris Groysberg scale, which shows which skills are most and least transferable:
Due to their adaptability power, transferable competences are gaining more and more importance in the organizational context. Since to remain competitive, the individual needs to possess and develop a set of them. Thus, if the professional emphasizes the development of specific skills, leaving aside transferable ones, he will have great difficulties when he wants or needs to leave his current job.
From the examples of specific and transferable competences given in this article, reflect and analyze where your main competences are located. Follow each of the steps below:
Ideally, transferable skills should represent at least 70% of the total. This is a green light, showing that everything is in order, with no career losses and no need for adjustments. If it’s between 40% and 69%, it’s a yellow light, which means you should pay attention and invest in developing new transferable skills to broaden your capacity, career threshold and future opportunities. Now, if it’s below 40%, it’s a red flag, high alert, which shows that your career is at risk and that it will be very difficult for you to be able to insert yourself in different realities from the current one.
Published in July 2022.