- Soft skills are most in demand for entry-level professional jobs, according to a new study by Parker Dewey, a freelance platform for college students and recent graduates. The top desired skills among Parker Dewey's database of project postings were: attention to detail, written and oral communication, reliability, empathy, flexibility, integrity, organization, problem solving, resilience, and the willingness to be a self-starter.
- "Given that over 90% of talent professionals ranked these skills as important per the recent [LinkedIn] Global Talent Trends report, we need to highlight that these are not just 'Soft Skills' but 'Core Skills,'" Parker Dewey's Founder and CEO Jeffrey Moss said in a press release. "And, of the top eight career-readiness competencies defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), seven were these soft skills."
- According to Parker Dewey, the high demand for soft skills is emerging just as the gig-to-hire trend has taken hold and more employers have recognized that graduating from a top school with a high GPA doesn't guarantee a successful career fit for entry-level positions.
In a tight labor market, employers have had the hardest time finding soft skills. In LinkedIn's 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, the largest skills gap for basic business roles like sales development representatives and administrative assistants were oral communication, leadership and time management, despite the rise in data-oriented jobs.
These skills are in such demand that many employers are now reconsidering where and how they recruit talent, particularly entry-level workers. As the Parker Dewey study noted, some employers are now questioning the place of GPA to forecast success of its potential workers, and others still are turning away from requiring 4-year degrees at all. This is thanks to a skills market that forces employers to hire in ways that are "better suited" to the current skills economy, Mike Knapp, CEO at SkillSmart, previously told HR Dive.
The gig-to-hire trend is one example of how the market is shifting to serve critical needs for both employers, who need to remain agile as the labor market changes, and new job seekers, who might not find the jobs they want immediately, but who can be valuable temporary workers if they have the soft skills most in demand. Digital credentials, too, are rising as an alternative to traditional degrees, though soft skills remain more difficult to translate to traditional badging systems.