The Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are becoming more and more vital to employers when looking for a new candidate. It will come as no surprise that those with similar experience and education tend to stand out better when they are able to demonstrate a variety of skills, such as: communication skills, quick-thinking or having a good team ethic.

In the competitive world of recruitment, employers are asking and looking for certain soft skills to establish the most suitable people for the role. While technical and experience-specific skills still very much have a place in the mind of a recruiter, soft skills give candidates an edge and show potential employers the social and cultural benefits they could bring to their company.

Job search engine Joblift analysed which soft skills appear most frequently in the 9,542,193 UK jobs posted online within the last year.

Top Soft Skills

  • Dedication/commitment
  • Communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Flexibility
  • Organised/organisational skills
  • Positive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Passionate
  • Friendly

Dedication and commitment are by far the most sought after soft skill within the UK job market during 2016. Communication skills and confidence also ranked highly. But what do these soft skills hint at? Longevity? Loyalty?

Next we take a look at what appeared within adverts but are less popular.

Least popular soft skills are:

  • Smooth talker
  • Temperamental
  • Spontaneous
  • Quick-thinker
  • Solution-oriented
  • Perseverance
  • Tactful
  • Charming
  • Sympathetic
  • Commercial skills

UK vs. European counterparts

Joblift also analysed the top soft skills in France, Germany and the Netherlands. So how do these results compare to Europe? Interestingly, the UK has the most in common with the Netherlands in terms of soft skills and shares the least with France.

Top five soft skills in France:

  • Independence
  • Rigorous
  • Social skills
  • Dynamic
  • Team player

Top five soft skills in the Netherlands:

  • Adaptability
  • Communication skills
  • Team player
  • Proactive
  • Motivation

Top five soft skills in Germany:

  • Team player
  • Reliability
  • Engagement
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability

Communication and social skills rate highly for all four countries, and appear in each of the countries’ top five soft skills. So what does this indicate? European employers see communication as vital to finding the right talent for their business.

Of all the countries analysed, the UK is the only country without team work or team spirit featuring in the most popular soft skills. Moreover, the majority of soft skills which are most desired by UK companies align to an individual’s behaviour towards the company they work for, instead of tendencies towards interpersonal behaviour. Furthermore, confidence is one soft skill that only features on the UK’s list.

Meanwhile in France, the majority of soft skills are centred around individual behaviours. Three out of five soft skills are primarily focused around personality traits. Germany and the Netherlands however, have the exact same ratio of interpersonal and company-oriented skills. For these two countries in particular, individual requirements do not feature at all in either country’s top five.

These differences in focus make for a very interesting analysis between Europe’s most influential countries. Companies in Germany and the Netherlands advertise mainly for candidates with skills that will directly benefit the company or help in team-building situations. However, in France, recruiters tend to be more favourable to individual behaviour. The French seem to focus more on the abilities of the individual themselves instead of the behaviour towards the company.

The UK remains alone in its top soft skills; the most desired soft skills are all company focused, with a 50/50 split of individual and interpersonal behaviour.

So, if you’re job hunting within the UK right now, it’s very important to demonstrate dedication, communication and confidence!