The Skill That Employers Struggle to Find

Employers are searching for something beyond technical or "hard" skills when weighing job candidates.

The Skill That Employers Struggle to Find Photo (cc) by GotCredit

The so-called “skills gap” that has made headlines in recent years extends beyond the technical, or “hard,” skills.

Employers are also struggling to find job candidates with the right baseline, or “soft,” skills, according to Burning Glass Technologies’ recent report “The Human Factor: The Hard Time Employers Have Finding Soft Skills.”

Soft skills can be difficult to define. They include but are not limited to so-called “people skills” such as customer service. They also include skills such as writing and knowledge of software programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

Burning Glass Technologies, a job market research firm, analyzed millions of job postings nationwide for the report and found that soft skills make up an average of 1 in 3 requested skills.

Matthew Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass, says in a news release about the report:

“Employers and job-seekers might find it surprising that skills gaps not only exist among more complex, specialized technical skills, but also baseline skills.

“If employers were confident that everyone had learned these baseline skills in high school, they wouldn’t be focusing on them so much in job ads. Skills that are overemphasized in ads are usually under-supplied in the workforce.”

Three particular soft skills are in demand almost universally:

  • Writing
  • Communication
  • Organization

The Burning Glass report explains:

These skills are in demand across nearly every occupation — and in nearly every occupation they’re being requested far more than you’d expect based on standard job profiles. Even fields like IT and engineering want people who can write.

Overall, the most in-demand soft skills are:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Organizational skills
  3. Writing
  4. Customer service
  5. Microsoft Excel
  6. Word/Office
  7. Problem solving
  8. Planning
  9. Computer skills and typing
  10. Research
  11. Detailed-oriented
  12. Building effective relationship
  13. Project management
  14. Supervisory skills
  15. Multi-tasking
  16. Time management
  17. Leadership
  18. Mathematics
  19. Creativity
  20. Presentation skills

Which soft skill has helped you most when job hunting? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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