Why Employers Should Look to Soft Skills Over Technical Skills

Research has revealed that almost half of UK companies are finding it a challenge to source skilled workers. Because of this, just over 20 per cent are seeking out candidates with outstanding soft skills so they can work on honing the necessary technical skills on the job.

The research, conducted by Robert Half, shows the soft skills that UK business leaders are willing to prioritise. These include openness to new ideas, willingness to accept change and good communication abilities. Team spirit and flexibility also rank as important to employers.

It is vital in this fast-moving digital-led age of work that employees have the skills to adapt to change. Employers are therefore keen to source workers with the ability to keep pace.

Matt Weston is UK managing director of Robert Half. He says, ‘It’s no longer enough to simply execute on the day-to-day tasks. Being adaptable, collaborative and open to innovation and change are vital employee characteristics for modern organisations. As the skills shortage continues to tighten, businesses looking to tap into a wider talent pool need to consider the long-term value a candidate’s attitude and soft skills can bring to a role.’

Matt says that this means employers need to look beyond the qualifications listed on a CV. Candidates who make a point of showcasing their soft skills on paper should be put at the top of the pile.

Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Soft skills are sometimes referred to as transferable skills. They are not specialised or technical but more in line with the personality of an employee. Soft skills include teamwork, problem solving and communication.

Soft skills hinge on attitude and are personality-driven. For this reason it is vital to consider soft skills when taking on a new member of staff. Even the skill of being able to demonstrate soft skills is something important to look for.

Soft skills are important because your staff represent you in front of your clients. Communication and attitude are therefore vital. In addition to this, soft skills are important when it comes to interactions between colleagues. How do your people work together? What’s their approach to teamwork? To sharing knowledge? A healthy and productive working environment hinges on soft skills.

So, if you are finding it a challenge to source new talent with the right technical skills, instead look more to their soft skills. Because if you can bag a great attitude and approach, making up the technical skills with training should come easy.

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