SKILLS / FEB. 14, 2015
version 5, draft 5

The Value of Soft Skills in Business

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istock

Apparently soft skills are not only essential for career success, but for business success as well. A recent study by UK employers showed that soft skills are actually worth £88 billion per year in businesses that rely on “face to face interaction” – especially in customer service.

More specifically, the new campaign that was launched by employers focuses on the idea that soft skills need to be taken more seriously since they should be considered as factors for business success. McDonald’s has already acknowledged the importance of soft skills and are investing more in the soft skills development mainly focusing on skills such as communication, teamwork and time management.

The reasons why the company has taken this initiative of supporting the skills development campaign are the following:

  • It seems that by 2020 more than half of million workers will be held back by a lack of soft skills.
  • Investing in soft skills will result in a major growth for the UK economy that is predicted to reach up to £109 billion.
  • 3 out of 4 employers believe there is a soft skills gap in the UK workforce.
  • Employees struggle selling their soft skills to an employer while 54% said they have never included soft skills on their CV.

Soft skills are extremely valuable and important to any job, although they are not being recognised as much as they should be. Despite the fact that employers value skills more than academic performance, soft skills remain underrepresented as jobseekers may have not fully understood their importance in regards to their professional development and overall economic growth.

In 2010, The European Commission anticipated the problem and proposed the Agenda for new skills and jobs which involves a 10 year strategy that aims to promote “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” in Europe by 2020. In an attempt to help employment prospects, businesses and economic development, the agenda aims to equip people with the right skills and increase “flexicurity”.

In addition, one of the main areas the EC has been working on since 2008 is skills development with the New Skills for New Jobs initiative. This aims to promote a better anticipation of future skills needs and a better match between skills and the needs of the job market.

For the jobseekers and employees out there this means you should be investing more in the development of your transferable skills and gaining work experience so that you can improve your chances of finding employment.

Finally, you need to learn how to demonstrate your key strengths and abilities instead of just stating them. So whether you are looking for a job or hoping to get a promotion you need to be in the position to showcase your skills, providing real-life examples of how you have met them. 

What’s your opinion on the value of soft skills development? Let us know in the comment section below.

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