This has led to the paradox that there are thousands of vacant jobs for which there are no suitable people to fill them. In particular, it is the younger ones who struggle to enter the job market and have an opportunity. This is the so-called deficit between job supply and demand. But how did we get to this situation? What are companies looking for? What could be the solution? Let’s see it in the following paragraphs.
The Employment Situation
There are currently thousands of free jobs for which it is impossible to find qualified people. This indeed represents a paradox in a country like ours, where in the third quarter of 2020, there was an unemployment rate of 9.5%. The youngest seems to be most affected, where unemployment for the 18–29 age group is 22.8%.
Over the last twenty years, the international economic context has changed due to the digital revolution, forcing companies to change their commercial and personnel selection strategies. Until recently, to join a company, it was sufficient to have a suitable qualification; today, it is no longer enough; companies are looking for something else. So-called soft skills have become increasingly important in the candidate selection process.
Soft Skills: What Are They?
Soft skills are distinguished from other skills required of the worker as they cannot be acquired by attending courses of study, at least if set up traditionally, but essentially depend on intrinsic characteristics of the individual, which can be exploited in any working position, and which go to integrate and complete the so-called hard skills.
They concern, for example, how one communicates and its effectiveness or the ability with which one’s work is organized. Acquiring or improving this type of skill is more complex; it requires working on oneself, and in some cases, only experience and having lived through certain situations can be of help.
The Contribution Of Innovative Training Methods To The Training Of Soft Skills
To acquire this mix of technological, managerial, and soft skills quickly while maintaining sight of the acquisition of technical skills, there is a need to rethink how training is provided today. That is, creating more innovative study paths (with self-learning techniques) with continuous experience in the field. To do this, it is necessary to focus on aligning study paths towards innovation and interdisciplinarity, thus providing students with the skills required to enter the world of work directly.
Allowing them to acquire and perfect during the training period, thanks to internship experiences within actual companies, the communication, problem-solving, and organization skills that companies look for in their employees. A significant contribution can come from ITS courses, the only ones currently able to help students in this process of constant growth, thanks to the teaching method based on experiential learning.
12 Examples Of Soft Skills Practical For Companies
The list of soft skills, as you may have already guessed, is long, and each has its importance. For space reasons, I will only list the most relevant ones that companies are looking for in a candidate and future collaborator. An excellent candidate for a company corresponds to a person who has the right mix of:
- Excellent communication skills: In a work context strongly focused on communicating with the customer, the ability to convey and make your interlocutor understand a certain message or thought represents a skill highly requested by companies in all sectors. Having good communication skills means being able to express yourself clearly and effectively.
- A good communicator should understand how and when to change his communication based on the situation, topic, and circumstances. Communication, however, is not something unique but is a two-way process. Having good communication skills requires, first of all, the ability to listen to other people.
- Teamwork: Working profitably in a group by sharing ideas and proposals is essential. A person’s ability to work in a team contributes to achieving the common goal of collaborating and discussing positively to reach a compromise that benefits both parties. Some people naturally feel at ease “negotiating” and discussing with other people and then carrying on a healthy and effective collaboration.
- Leadership is the ability to make a group work harmoniously by guiding them, avoiding or favoring the resolution of any conflicts, towards achieving a specific objective. Knowing how to make effective decisions without procrastination helps us analyze the situation or problem and identify the possible course of action (without our intervention). Evaluate each of these actions and their weight within the individual process, and define the actions we want to take so that events unfold as we wish. Leadership is preparation, communication, empathy, and strength. It is not easy to acquire such a broad range of skills, but, as with creativity, in this case, too, you can work to improve.
- Reliability: One of the characteristics that a future employer or client could appreciate is the professionalism and seriousness with which you carry out your work.
- Flexibility and adaptability represent the ability to adapt and react to any problems or changes in plans without losing the clarity necessary to achieve the objective and complete the work positively. The ability to accept and adapt to change is vital because, like it or not, change will be an important part of the new era of work. Consumer needs and expectations are changing; therefore, organizations must change their business models. And as a result, the professions are different. Whether it’s organization, technology, or skills, the roles we fill and how we operate are changing and will change repeatedly.
- Creativity: It certainly plays a decisive role in some types of work. Let’s think about those who, for example, deal with the management of corporate communications and must constantly find alternative ways to get a message to customers. Or even to those who deal with the preparation of the graphic design of a site. The ability to be creative and innovate is what makes the difference. Let’s think about the boom in start-ups: creativity is valued and is increasingly requested in a context full of changes and constantly evolving. This is why it is good to let it emerge right from the first job interview. Are creatives born or made? This is the Hamlet doubt that is often talked about. Creativity is a muscle that can be trained, taken care of, and improved over time. So, since creativity is one of the most sought-after soft skills, maybe it’s time to start with the training.
- Problem Solving: In a world with such rapid changes, the speed of intervention on a problem is everything.
- Related to analytical skills, a good level of problem-solving means studying and finding the best solution to the obstacles that arise along the way daily.
- We have always thought of problem-solving as a rigorous and rational process. Nothing could be more wrong: nowadays, all problem-solving experts aim at integrating logical resources with creative ones to understand the skills involved in the search for a solution.
- Analytical ability refers to the ability to understand in advance a situation that could occur and to propose possible solutions accordingly.
- Time Management: Time management has quickly risen to the top of many recruiters’ priority lists.
- But what does it consist of? It means that you know how to organize your schedule and that you know how to complete projects efficiently and on time.
- In light of the last two years, many people have worked from home due to the pandemic. For this reason, the ability to organize has become more essential than ever. It must be said that many employees have saved the time they spend travelling from home to the office and vice versa. But what about distractions? Many students and workers experienced a sharp drop in productivity because there was no one to monitor them. For this reason, even in smart work, it is essential to know how to manage your time intelligently and effectively.
- Proactivity: the ability to think and propose solutions to any problems arising during work. This attitude is what pushes people to do things before they are asked. It’s about that propensity to always be on point, proactive, enthusiastic, and not passively suffer the work. A spirit of initiative means creating a thriving and fertile work environment, stimulating oneself and others.
- Willingness to learn: The ability to learn gives you future value by making you agile. It is a currency rewarded with better employability and high growth prospects.
- Learning no longer ends with school or university. On the contrary, the motto has changed from learning, working, and retiring to living longer and working longer. Continuous or lifelong learning is a new survival skill. Fearful of automation, an unpredictable future, or complex jobs, continuous learners are best placed to weather it all.
- Greater learnability demonstrates better employability, leading to greater career security.
- Knowing how to communicate passion and enthusiasm.
The Role Of Communication, Organizational, And Relational Skills
At this point, it is clear that companies searching for the ideal candidate are increasingly attentive not only to technical skills ( skills) but also, above all, to that mix of communication, organizational, and relational skills, which are called soft skills. For this reason, a possible solution could be represented by teaching based on experience.