Soft skill development by employees is vastly important for securing and retaining employment. However, in the midst of earning a degree with a corporate-level education in a technical, financial, business, or other field, the importance of soft skills is not being conveyed to today's student.

In May 2015,the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developmentin the UK presented results of a survey of 150 graduate recruiters and 150 recent graduates, which revealed a great disparity between the two groups when it came to how much emphasis is placed on the importance of possessing developed soft skills.

In fact, 70 percent of graduates believed that they "just needed to be good at their job to succeed."

Students, clearly accustomed to recognition for academic achievement rather than people skills, tend to undervalue the weight placed on soft skills by employers. The same study revealed that 93 percent of employers reported that a lack of these skills was a barrier to getting work done.

A separate study in the US reflected similar results. In March 2015, the Washington State Human Resources Council released findings thatreaffirm the variation between employers and employees when gauging the relevance of soft skills: 44 percent of employers chose "lack of soft skills" as the greatest skills gap of the US workforce; 90 percent reported that soft skills were "more important than technical skills" or "as important as technical skills," which is substantial and quite illustrative of the issue at hand.

Employers in this study refer to the following skillsets to be most paramount:

  • Interpersonal skills, including emotional intelligence, team building, and teamwork.
  • Communication skills, including manners, grammar (spoken and written), body language, and positive interactions.
  • Self-management, including work ethic, "showing up on time," and ability to workindependently.
  • "Intangibles," including temperament, patience, and other similar qualities.

Young people undoubtedly need further education on the importance of soft skills for the workplace.

Whether integrated into a high-school-level curriculum or as a core subject in a college, university, or technical school setting, more direction needs to be imparted to graduating students embarking on the first phase of their career.

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