A survey by the Wall Street Journal shows ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply.
The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.
Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.
A recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers found 58% say the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity.
In a Wall Street Journal survey of nearly 900 executives last year, 92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. But 89% said they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite attributes. Many say it’s a problem spanning age groups and experience levels.
A LinkedIn analysis of its member profiles found soft skills are most prevalent among workers in the service sector, including restaurant, consumer-services, professional-training and retail industries.
To determine the most sought-after soft skills, LinkedIn analyzed those listed on the profiles of members who applied for two or more jobs and changed jobs between June 2014 and June 2015. The ability to communicate trumped all else, followed by organization, capacity for teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social savvy, creativity and adaptability.
At Two Bostons, a small chain of pet boutiques outside Chicago, owner AdreAnne Tesene conducts at least three rounds of interviews before she hires someone.
For higher-level positions, she invites job candidates and their significant others out to dinner with the rest of the management team, “so we can see how they treat their family.” She also has her employees fill out an evaluation of a new co-worker after 90 days.
Ms. Tesene, who opened her first store 11 years ago, said she sees fewer candidates who can hold a conversation, want to interact with people and are eager to excel.
Dare to Be Different?
Outside of communication and punctuality, I wonder how many companies really want what they say. Large technology firms like Google and Apple do. So might small startups.
What about banks?
For most bank positions, the last thing banks want is for someone to think for themselves. There are rules for everything.
Critical thinking was 5th on the list. How many companies really want just that? One way to find out is to express opinions different that the one your boss has.
Want to work on a government sponsored global warming project? If so, you better not have be open to the idea that man-made global warming is a theory and not a fact.
Want to replace Ben Bernanke or Janet Yellen when they retire? If so, you better think just like them.
When your job depends on believing idiocy, you believe idiocy. You won’t get hired in the first place if you don’t.
Regardless of what they say, most companies really want punctual robots, not creative thinkers.
No one will care if robots are “socially savvy” as long as they do not make blatantly obvious mistakes.
What About Unions?
Public unions are the worst of all.
Union leaders expect union members to be paid on the basis of how long they have been on the job, not how well they do the job.
Not even communication skills matter, once someone is hired in the first place.
Short Supply or Lack of Demand?
If critical thinking is in short supply, it’s for one reason only: Lack of genuine demand.
Unions permeate the “thinking not necessary” culture, so do something for nothing beliefs at the Fed. So does Obama, and so do Democrats in general with counterproductive government handouts.
In general, critical thinking is so unwanted. It’s fully functional robots that are truly in short supply.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock