There is no doubt that skills are vital to employment. In today’s workplace, performance is affecting the idea of the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) that may play a role in the desirable performance of its workforce. Research suggests that employers today are more concerned with mastery of soft skills rather than technical skills. Soft skills such as communication, problem solving, and team work are becoming increasingly important for the efficient performance of an organization.
What Skills Do Employers Require?
Formerly “skill” meant the procedural and physical abilities of a worker or the competence of a specialist or expert applying methodical abilities in performing the tasks of jobs. Today, the meaning of skill has expanded to include customer concern, enthusiasm, and stress management in addition to the fundamental skills of each job.
The need for skills other than technical skills is warranted by the individual contribution that is necessary to achieve the desired service or product of an organization. Today, employers find soft skills more desirable than technical ones. This is especially true in certain segments such as call centers and industries where the priority is customer service. Soft skills can be acquired through training, but a challenging occupation requiring these skills can be the best situation for developing them. Conversely, organizations are more concerned with the such strategic skills as communication, negotiation, and motivation, and these can be acquired in work places where experience is combined with training.
Acquisition of soft skills, whether through experience or training, may be a difficult undertaking. Workplaces are constantly changing due to such things as advancement in technology and shifting customer needs. The impact that these changes have can often be negative. Employees who were highly skilled in processes and procedures, for example, have no desired expertise once computers and their associated software replace them and create jobs for analysts and programmers.
It can be surmised that the disposition of work today and the more concern in customer satisfaction and the competition intensified by globalization make it necessary for employers to accentuate soft skills. Hiring decisions are greatly influenced by the possession of the candidate of such skills. The shift on the type of skills organizations are requiring has motivated individuals to acquire these skills.
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development