According to a new survey, companies need employees with critical thinking, creative problem-solving skills, but most college grads don’t stack up.
Companies want job candidates with soft as well as hard skills, but are having trouble finding candidates who fit the bill. Particularly among recent college grads, a new survey says, employers say that there is a lack of critical thinking and other skills they need workers to have. In fact, 73% of employers describe finding qualified, capable job applicants as “very or somewhat difficult.”
More specifically, employers say it’s “very or somewhat difficult” to find job candidates with:
- Critical thinking skills (64%)
- Listening skills (55%)
- Communication skills (54%)
- Interpersonal skills (55%)
Over half of employers say that education systems, including colleges and universities, have done “little or nothing” to provide adequate soft skills training. Some suggest that students’ reliance on technology is making it harder for them to practice soft skills. However, employers stress that the rise of automation means job candidates will need uniquely human skills that machines can’t replace or replicate. In this automated world, survey respondents say, companies will be looking for workers with:
- Communication skills (77%)
- Listening skills (75%)
- Critical thinking skills (74%)
- Interpersonal skills (73%)
Employers say these skills are not just important to enable workers to be effective and productive; they also are essential to help them move up the ladder and secure leadership/management roles. At the same time, employers suggest that they are less concerned about skills that can be easily automated and/or taught, including memory skills, computer/tech skills, quantitative skills, and the ability to repeat tasks.
The good news is that Generation Zers, who are just starting to enter the workforce, actually value soft skills. However, they are looking to employers to help them sharpen these competencies. As InFront reported earlier this year, 40% of Gen Zers believe that companies should provide soft skills training to improve their ability to communicate with customers, clients, and/or patients. The vast majority of those who get this training say they deliver better customer/patient care as a result.