The Human Factor

The Hard Time Employers Have Finding Soft Skills
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What's a "Soft Skill" and How Do Employers Hire for Them?

Foundational or “soft” skills occupy an unusual position in the debate over America’s workforce. Employers say these skills are both crucial and hard to find. But it has also been notoriously difficult to define what these baseline skills are.

On average, one in three skills requested in job postings is a “baseline skill.”

Baseline skills are in high demand by employers, although the proportion depends on the particular industry. Even in the most technical career areas (such as IT, Healthcare, and Engineering), more than a quarter of all talent requirements are for baseline skills. How those skills are related to an industry might differ, as do the need abilities of the job role applicant, but the baseline definition remains constant.

Baseline skills aren’t limited to “people skills.”

Certainly, skills like customer service and organizational skills appear across the board in job postings, but so do talents like writing, as well as knowledge of specific software packages like Microsoft Word and Excel.

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