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Hard evidence in favour of soft skills

Boasting the very best work experience and a wealth of technical skills on your CV is of course something we all aspire to, but today’s employers are far more inclined to value soft skills, such as communication competence or team working expertise, than ever before.

Business Meeting, Silhouette

 British employers are more than 10 times as likely to plump for a candidate who can prove their communication skills in the workplace over ones with extensive experience, according to Adzuna research. The study, which analysed the language companies use in their job ads, reveals big spikes in demand for effective employees, strong communication skills and sky high levels of motivation to succeed, while extensive experience skills and a proven track record in the field are less of a priority.

Conducted in 2014, the research analysed over 2 million job ads across 11 countries to highlight the most sought-after attributes. Keywords were grouped into 4 categories; Qualifications & Skills, Experience, Interpersonal Abilities and Personality Traits.

An ability to be effective quickly is the most sought after attribute of 2014, with almost a quarter (23.3%) of all ads demanding traits such as passion, enthusiasm and proactivity. By comparison, only 1.3% of current job ads call for extensive experience in the field, while less than 1% of ads specify a preference for MBA candidates.

Top 10 most Used Buzzwords in the UK

Buzzwords Number of jobs Average Salary(per annum)
Effective 127,847 £33,465
Communication Skills 124,460 £30,144
Motivated 123,686 £29,592
Qualified 114,581 £33,380
Flexible 110,323 £27,009
Degree 93,319 £37,701
Passionate 91,384 £27,843
Challenging 89,566 £33,390
Track Record 68,960 £38,897
Results 67,963 £32,539

According to new campaigns by employers, soft skills are worth £88bn to the UK economy. And the debate is attracting some high profile voices, with fast food giant MacDonald’s arguing that soft skills should no longer be taken lightly, and working in alignment with Barclays to create more awareness about these important skillsets.

soft-skills-trainingRichard Florida in his book, ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’, attempts to explain the rising popularity of these soft and creative skills among employers. He argues that since the technology is filling a lot of gaps of once the preferred skills, it is the creativity of human beings that makes them desirable.

Julia Llewellyn Smith agrees in a recent article in The Independent, alleging: “that business gurus have pinpointed (soft skills) as the modern workplace’s most sought-after qualities. Including intangible attributes such as punctuality, flexibility, good communication and cooperativeness, soft skills are impossible to quantify but are, according to increasingly exasperated bosses, potentially far more valuable than exam results.”

With little doubt remaining on the value of communication and teamwork skills, and the desirability of enthusiasm and creativity, the onus is on candidates to highlight not only experience and qualifications, but also their ability drive the company culture forward.

At Adzuna, we do our best to match your CV with the right company and we hope that your soft skills will help you land your dream job. Happy Job searching!