Communication skills – are they as universal as we think?

Consistently rated as one of the most vital capabilities in the modern workforce, it is no surprise to learn that a search on Seek for “excellent communication skills” reveals that every role, industry and level of expertise is searching for someone with “excellent communication skills”.

When the first page of results contains jobs spanning dentist, labourer, barista, store manager, grant writer, business analyst, cashier, property manager, painter, nurse, project manager and receptionist, what does “excellent communication skills” truly mean? These roles range in seniority from entry-level positions to highly technical, leadership roles, all of which require different communication styles and level of expertise, however the skill is advertised in exactly the same way for each role.

Whilst it is important that both a barista and grant writer are able to effectively communicate, the level at which this skill must be executed varies significantly between the two roles. So how do we quantify a soft skill like communication?

The communication capability in the Human Capabilities Standards (include a link to it) does exactly that, it measures the outcomes from courses,   programs and experiences to determine an individual’s verified level of communication ability in a transferable, quantifiable way on completion of the course.

The communication capability emphasises clarity of meaning and impact and quantifies a person’s ability to effectively communicate. As with the entire Human Capability Standards, the communication skill comprises five levels, with the intent of measuring the individual’s ability to be purposeful in their communication by solving problems, collaborating, creating a dialogue to better understand another person’s feelings, learning, influencing others or exposing oneself to other’s beliefs. 

The Communication capability is not just about being able to communicate with other people, it is about working beyond the interpersonal scope to manage the vast amounts of information conveyed to us daily. It is about meaningful engagement with others in a physical and virtual setting and ensuring that how, what and when we communicate is sensitive to the needs of the audience.

The Human Capability Standard enables setting selection criteria and defining position descriptions in a meaningful way, and permits a differentiation between the required communication expertise of different roles, for instance a barista who may require a level 1 communication skill, and a grant writer who may need to communicate at level 4.

For more information about the Human Capability Standards please contact us at or 07 3858 1230.