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Insights Why meta skills are crucial for career growth and retaining talent

In an agile and fast-changing workforce, meta skills are highly important for adaptability as they enable you to engage with your soft skills and navigate changes and increased demands more effectively. Meta skills are broad capabilities that help you make more informed decisions, achieve your goals and deliver meaningful discussions in the most productive way. Ultimately, meta skills encompass a range of different softer skills that can be utilized daily, such as self-awareness, intuition and critical thinking, all of which can serve as key contributors to career growth.

At AtkinsRéalis , we create and deliver the best projects to meet the needs of our clients. Along with our brands, Atkins, Faithful+Gould, and Acuity, we work across the entire lifespan of projects and deliver efficient and lasting solutions. Therefore, we understand the importance of meta skills and ensuring you’re well-equipped to keep moving your career forward. Below, we take a look at why meta skills are essential for growth and retaining talent.

The changing world of work

The nature of work is always changing as businesses grow and re-shape as a result of digital transformation. For example, we’ve seen the civil engineering industry evolve from mostly concrete-based applications to now designing buildings and structures with digital 3D design tools and automated technologies. Therefore, meta skills are hugely important when it comes to adapting to changes in the workplace and learning new tools, both of which are key contributors to career growth. For businesses, this means they should focus on recruiting candidates with meta skills, such as innovation and active listening, which can drive the development of new skills in different areas. Meta skills help people adapt to change, which is critical for success in today’s modern workforce.

High-functioning teams

One of the key benefits of meta skills is that it can pave the way for strong, high-performing teams – and there’s no doubt that team unity is an important part of employee retention, because it allows people to feel safe and comfortable within their roles. Meta skills built on smaller talents such as emotional intelligence, and interpersonal and communication skills, can create stronger and more inclusive environments where people can truly thrive. According to Team Stage, effective communication generates 4.5 times higher talent retention. Therefore, it’s important that every employee learns how to build trust with others, inspire confidence and demonstrate humility. When a team works in tandem and combines all their meta skills, this creates a culture of shared values, which is important for growth and retention.


Focusing on your meta skills shows you’re thoughtful and self-aware about your attitude and habits in the workplace, which is an essential part of leadership. Unlike hard skills, they can be difficult to teach, so it’s important that professionals take the initiative to improve other skills, such as strategic thinking and critical analysis. People with strong soft skills can analyse what kind of coaching and leadership their team needs, or how to adjust their work style to match other personalities and working styles.

Therefore, well-developed meta skills are essential for showcasing your leadership qualities.In order to have a positive impact on employee retention, leaders should be displaying empathy and patience with the ability to mentor others. Growth and retention rely on effective leadership, which plays an important role in employee engagement. Having meta skills can certainly optimise career development and retention in this new world of working.

Take the next step in your career with AtkinsRéalis

AtkinsRéalis is an industry-leading company that provides engineering, construction and procurement services to clients globally. We work on a large variety of projects and over the years, we’ve successfully built a high-performing culture. By connecting people, data and technology, we create sustainable solutions to deliver the most complex projects.

Our team are also committed to helping engineer Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030. We make sure our employees have the best opportunities to grow their careers and we promote diversity and inclusivity across our company. If you’re interested in finding out about our civil engineering or construction jobs, take a look at our jobs today, join the talent community and sign up for job alerts.