Career and Technical Education programs across the country allow students the opportunity to cultivate soft skills. These skills are vital to the success and employability of students after they graduate. In fact, the top three skills employers are looking for are oral and written communication, problem solving and integrity. Are we helping convey to our students the true importance of “soft skills” for their success?
Microsoft published a blog about education and in their blog, they referred to a whitepaper that had been done by the International Data Corporation (IDC) regarding top skills for high-opportunity occupations, and all other occupations in the United States in 2015. The information in the study has helped me when speaking with educators to fully understand the importance for soft skills.
The IDC pulled more than 76 million job postings from 25,000 job boards and staffing companies across the United States. The IDC compiled the top 20 skills employers are looking for from potential job candidates. The data shows the top 10 skills across all occupations and high-opportunity occupations. Of those 10 top skills, 7 are considered soft skills which are: written and oral communication, problem solving, integrity, detail oriented, creativity, troubleshooting, and self-motivation. This study shows the need for qualified job candidates that have developed these soft skills.
As educators, it is important to help guide students down a desired career path. When they know their destination, we can help plot a path for success. This path begins with helping them to know what skills are required for their desired job. As we help students connect the dots with what they are doing now within the classroom, it has a direct correlation with where they want to be in the future. Students will be more engaged and willing to develop soft skills that will benefit them for the rest of their life.