Soft skills top employer wish lists, despite automation's rise
- Technological know-how is crucial in today's workplace, but employers want soft skills above all, according to a new poll conducted by Morning Consult for the U.S.-based education and technology firm Cengage. The survey of more than 650 employers and 1,500 current and former college students found that 73% of employers are having difficulty finding qualified candidates, while 65% of employers chose soft skills as the most in-demand skills.
- The employers polled said the most in-demand soft skills are: listening skills (74%); attention to detail and attentiveness (70%); effective communication (69%); critical thinking (67%); interpersonal skills (65%); and active learning/learning new skills (65%).
- One-third of employers said that schools haven't adequately prepared students for jobs, and one in three students agreed. Also, 65% of students said they're having a harder time finding a job than their parents' generation did, a quarter of students said they're worried that technology will replace jobs, and 77% said they're worried about having the skills needed to do a job.
Soft skills are those uniquely human skills that are invaluable in the workplace. Besides the skills Cengage outlined, employers often name leadership, organization, time management and collaboration as coveted qualities in potential hires, according to a 2018 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn.
The skills gap continues to pose hiring challenge for employers, which are often in need tech-savvy workers. Nearly every job across industries and job categories requires some level of tech proficiency. But according to a more recent LinkedIn report, the skills gap has hit soft skills the hardest. Soft skills are as much in demand as hard skills, but are proving harder to find among today's applicants, experts have said. In the recruiting process, soft skills can differentiate stand-out talent from good or mediocre talent.
Soft skills are in such high demand that an online college is teaching them to adults. In fact, LinkedIn's Workplace Learning Report, which was released in March, even cited soft skills as the top training priority for 2018.