Why soft skills are important
While young people consider maths and literacy to be the most important things to learn at school, soft skills (including confidence and communication) are next in line – ahead of subjects like IT and languages. When asked why they think these skills are so important, 62% of young people said that having them will help them to get a job.
Worryingly, 43% of young people don’t feel prepared to enter the workforce, with 43% of those who feel this way believing their soft skills are not good enough and 46% saying their confidence is too low. More than half (52%) of young people also feel their school does not fully support them to develop in these areas.
Are young people fully equipped?
When comparing these findings with the views of employees and teachers, it appears the concerns young people raise are not unfounded. More than a quarter of teachers (27%) think that most of the students they teach don’t yet have all the soft skills required to do well after school, and 91% think schools should be doing more to help students to develop these skills.
Similarly, the top five things workers think young people most lack typically when entering the workforce are soft skills including confidence, communication and reliability, above things like maths and literacy. 72% of employees felt they themselves didn’t have all the soft skills to do well when they first started working, while 64% felt a lack of skills meant they struggled to find a job when they were starting out.