Business and academia in the U.S. have traditionally been able to equip new workforce recruits with the hard skills they need to perform at a high level in the workplace. But with the regular ow of new technologies and business models into the market, today’s employees must navigate all this change with a varied skill set.
This means soft skills such as adaptability and complex problem-solving are more important than ever for recent college grads, mid-career professionals, and seasoned executives. Employer needs are continually shifting in response to changes in industry and the marketplace, so workers also need to keep refreshing both their hard and soft skills.
The Widening Gap
A 2018 Bloomberg Next and Workday survey asked if business and academia were meeting these challenges, and what areas they might need to refine or rethink to improve outcomes.
The survey results identified several significant issues.
• A majority of respondents said new hires are not well-prepared to perform at a high level in a professional environment, primarily because of insufficient soft skills.
• A surprising number of organizations lack formal plans and budgets for addressing the impact of emerging technologies.
• Business and academia are not collaborating as actively and effectively as they could be in preparing students for em- ployment and reskilling individuals already in the workforce.
New Recruits Need Soft Skills
If recent graduates are not well-prepared for their new jobs, it is not because their hard skills are deficient. Some 90 percent of corporate respondents and 88 percent of academics surveyed said new recruits have the hard skills, such as computer literacy and written communication, to do their jobs successfully.
But both groups, however, were far less satisfied with new employees’ soft skills. Nearly four in 10 corporations and almost half of academic institutions said new hires lack the soft skills they need to perform at a high level.
Survey respondents from both business and academia agreed the most important soft skills are teamwork, analytical reasoning, complex problem-solving, agility, adaptability, and ethical judgment.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Building tomorrow’s talent: collaboration can close emerging skills gap