Utilize Your Soft Skills to Find a Job

By Lorena Roberts on January 17, 2019

If you’re a current college student or a recent college grad, you’ll likely be looking for a job in the near future. If you have well-developed soft skills, you might be in luck! According to a recent press release, job applicants with “soft skills” are among the most wanted in the US. On behalf of Cengage, Morning Consult conducted a study of more than 650 employers and 1500 current and former college students. Their survey shows the most demanded skills in demand by employers today are soft skills (by at least 65%), while quantitative skills and computer and technical skills were less in-demand (47% and 50%, respectively).

via Pexels

Today’s employers are looking for the following skill sets:

  • Listening skills (74%)
  • Attention to detail and attentiveness (70%)
  • Effective Communication (69%)
  • Critical thinking (67%)
  • Interpersonal skills (65%)
  • Active learning/Learning new skills (65%)

The majority of employers surveyed (73%) said it was very or somewhat difficult finding qualified candidates, and about one-third (34%) say schools have not properly prepared students for jobs.

Michael Hansen, the CEO of Cengage, the largest U.S.-based education and technology company serving the higher education market, says “these results show that we must not underestimate the power of the people factor in the workforce.  Technology and automation will continue to change and replace jobs, but there are skills that cannot be automated, such as the ability to think critically or problem solve.”

“There is a need for more soft skills training, both in college and on the job, and today’s learners and graduates must continue to hone their skills to stay ahead,” Hansen continued. “The onus is on everyone – students, colleges, employers and industry partners like Cengage – to make learning more accessible, relevant and affordable.”

The survey asked college students how easy it was to find a job, and 65% of students surveyed said that finding a job is more difficult in comparison to their parents’ generation. About 25% of students are worried that jobs will become less and less available as technology steps in to take over more and more jobs. However, even more students (77%) worry more about having the skill set needed for a job. One in three students believe their education has not adequately prepared them for the workplace.

“For candidates willing to hone their ‘uniquely human skills,’ there is opportunity,” said Hansen.   “While employers anticipate that computer and tech skills will be among the most coveted in the next five years, many human skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and the ability to learn new skills will remain important.”

For more information about the survey, please visit https://www.cengage.com/todays-learner/career-readiness#skillssurvey.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. After some serious soul-searching, she's decided to pursue a Master's in teaching in order to teach middle school math! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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