Identifying and understanding the importance of soft skills

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  • Identifying and understanding the importance of soft skills

You can’t always touch them, but you will definitely feel them. Soft skills exist; in fact, they are all around us and permeate life in and out of the workplace. 

What do soft skills bring to a business?

Soft skills are considered so important today for the pursuit of business success that some have even tried to measure them with money. For example, according to a survey by Development Economics conducted as part of an employers’ campaign supported by companies including Barclays, they are worth £ 88 billion a year for the UK economy. But how is it measured? The study states that if a company lacks soft skills, operating costs will increase and new products or services may be delayed. In consumer-focused businesses, this can also have a negative impact on customer loyalty and the organization’s ability to meet quality standards.

The study was commissioned by employers because they want a higher level of soft skills in the workplace. This wish was also confirmed with a specific reference to the world of postgraduate business education. While participants in the AMBA Accreditation Body in 2014 organized by the AMBA accreditation body did not diminish the importance of traditional technical skills or “hard” skills – necessary for the effective performance of managerial duties – these are now expected and often assumed. Soft skills, on the other hand, are what set people apart.

Soft skills as character traits

When it comes to crisis situations, soft skills can basically be seen as character traits. They are more than just a skill you gain through teaching and practical use, but they affect your personality – for better or worse.

In business, it often happens that when an organization is shaken by a scandal, attention usually turns relatively quickly to the character traits of the people involved. Therefore, for those who have ambitions to lead companies in the future, and for those who have the responsibility for their preparation, paying due attention to character traits is very important. People realize the need to start investing in character.

With this potential impact that we have in mind, it is important to determine exactly what areas of character we mean when we talk about soft skills.

Grouping of soft skills areas

To better understand what we mean by soft skills, we need to define their respective areas.

In terms of qualities required by those who employ MBA graduates, QS annually measures the demand for soft skills in four broad areas – these include leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, as well as strategic thinking.

Interestingly, it is these four skills (out of a total of 15 skills and competences) that are most in demand among employers who have responded to the latest worldwide QS employer survey. At the top of this list were communication and interpersonal skills, ahead of strategic thinking and leadership skills in the third, respectively. fourth place. Attributes that MBA employers have left behind behind this influx of soft skills include financial and IT skills, marketing and even relevant experience.

However, none of these skills found their importance commensurate with the average level of satisfaction that employers were also expected to report in relation to their recent employees.