- Soft skills are hard to come by, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that employers nationwide are having a tough time finding workers who can "communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers."
Those so-called soft skills are turning out to be difference makers in separating low energy employees from the next talented superstar. While those worker traits have always been prized, the changing economy has really brought them into focus for reaching business success.
- Automated or outsourced routine task jobs have led to layoffs and lower head counts, the Journal reports. What's left is work that requires employees to be critical thinkers, display empathy and be ready to collaborate with co-workers and/or interface with customers — the things you can't get out of a PC terminal or mobile device.
That soft skills are in high demand is not in doubt. Recent research shows that "fresh ideas and innovative spirit" are in demand in the financial sector. That phrase in particular hints at the type of soft skills that employers now crave in job candidates but can't seem to find.
A tightening labor market is turning up the heat in the so-called talent wars, and skills ranging from "making small talk with a customer at the checkout counter, to coordinating a project across several departments on a tight deadline," are in demand, the Journal reports. The Journal's own research, a survey of nearly 900 executives in 2015, found 92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. Yet, a big majority, 89%, said they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite attributes.
Employers looking to attract and land those "soft skill"-blessed employees can try a range of solutions, including relocation, higher wages, more attractive perks and benefits, and blending those all-important employee engagement components into recruiting strategies.