Last week Nick Schultz of the American Enterprise Institute noted in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that while observes focus on the need for science, technology, math and engineering degrees, “considerable evidence suggests that many employers would be happy just to find job applicants who have the ‘soft’ skills that used to be almost taken for granted.”
He pointed out that according to the Manpower Group’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey almost 20% of employers cited a lack of soft skills — including “interpersonal skills and enthusiasm/motivation” — as a key reason they weren’t able to hire new employees. Other soft skills lacking were professionalism and a lack of elementary command of the English language.
Also disturbing was a survey this spring by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP that compared the skills gap between older workers nearing retirement and the younger workers coming into the workforce. More than half of the organizations responded that simple grammar and spelling were the most frequent “basic” skills among older workers that are not readily found among the younger workers.