When looking to hire new workers, employers and employees often cannot discern the difference between actual skills and traits (Russo, 2015). Hard skills are the expertise, skill sets and other teachable abilities that are based on fact, and are often considered to be more important than their softer counterparts (Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., Lewis, M., 2015). Soft Skills are more subjective and are often associated with personal attributes and character. Hard skills are often key to landing an interview when applying for work through technology, as electronic sorting systems will only look for certain skill requirements (Russo, 2015). However a 2014 online survey conducted by Harris Poll of over 2000 employers showed that 77% believed soft skills to be just as important as hard skills and 16% believed they were more important. Despite this, when it comes to business, individuals fluent in these unique skills are regularly overlooked in favour of people with more tangible talents.
The reason soft skills are so important when it comes to business is that employers need to ensure that their company maintains a high level of professionalism; both within their own ranks and with customers, business partners and anyone else who has contact with them (Zambruski, 2011). Organizations that can prioritize beneficial soft skills in their employees reap the rewards of customer satisfaction and those who don’t fall behind the pack (Tulgan, 2015). Companies that do not support and reward key behavioural traits in their employees run the risk of their workers acting in a manner unbefitting to the company and what it stands for (Tulgan, 2015).
The demand for employees to emphasise good soft skills increases with each passing year, as business moves away from dictatorship and more towards socialism. In a society where technology is overtaking the globe, being able to persuade people and build relationships has become an increasingly valuable asset to have (Featherstone, 2015). Teaching undergraduate students about the importance of soft skills could directly influence their future employment opportunities; and the absence of good soft skills could destroy the career of someone who has ability and expertise but lacks interpersonal qualities (Robles, 2012).
Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., Lewis, M. 2015, Communication Skills for Business Professionals, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Vic. pp 8-12
Featherstone, T. 2015, do soft skills really matter? [Online]. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/the-venture/do-soft-skills-really-matter-20150401-1mcjsl.html
Poll, H. 2014, CareerBuilder’s Survey, [online]. Available at: http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=4/10/2014&id=pr817&ed=12/31/2014
Robles, MM 2012, Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace, [online]. Available at:http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4292baf3-c002-4918-b5fa-531a3bd26226%40sessionmgr4004&vid=2&hid=4102
Russo, K. 2015, Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What They Mean to Your Job Search and the Weight They Carry with HR, [online]. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristi-russo/hard-skills-vs-soft-skill_b_8341566.html
Tulgan, B. 2015, Unlocking the Power of Soft Skills, [online]. Available at: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3c24cdfd-d790-4d76-b691-fb35430e55bd%40sessionmgr104&vid=0&hid=126
Zambruski, D. 2011, what are Soft Skills and why are They Important? [Online]. Available at: https://www.resumeedge.com/what-are-soft-skills-and-why-are-they-important/