Recent Graduates Lack Soft Skills, New Study Reports

Aug 6, 2018 by

by Sarah Wood –

A recent study revealed that four in 10 corporations and almost half of academic institutions believe that recent graduates lack certain so-called “soft skills” needed in the workforce to be successful, including emotional intelligence, complex reasoning and negotiation and persuasion.

Dr. Chery Talley

While hard skills are “easily measured,” soft skills “are more of the intangibles that are hard to access and measure,” according to Dr. Marcheta Evans, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Our Lady of the Lake University.

The just-released 2018 Bloomberg Next study sponsored by Workday – “Building Tomorrow’s Talent: Collaboration Can Close Emerging Skills Gap” – included responses from 200 senior-level individuals from both academia and business.

Employers are now more focused on interpersonal skills rather than GPA, according to the study. In response, some universities are releasing extracurricular transcripts that demonstrate a student’s individual skills in addition to grades.

Such activities can provide a window into soft skills that employers increasingly are demanding in the workplace, from teamwork and self-regulation to multicultural competency and perseverance.

“Businesses are learning that [GPA] was an artificial measure of how successful the student could be on the job,” said Dr. Cheryl Talley, an associate professor of neuroscience at Virginia State University. “It is an easy measure to have, to assess and to look at on the resume. But if this wasn’t correlating with how successful you’d be on the job, then it’s an artificial measure.”

In recent years, technology has changed the workforce and how people communicate with one another.

Due to the evolution of the workforce, Evans said, adaptability is important.

Dr. Marcheta Evans

“A lot of times I think young people get a bad rep in regards to their communication skills,” said Evans. “They have the technology and sometimes they communicate in short form on their phones. It’s just a different form of communication that they are used to, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to communicate.”

In addition to the belief that recent graduates lack soft skills, nearly eight in 10 American adults agree that if there is not a development of a more talented workforce, the United States will fall behind other countries, according to a Gallup-Lumina Foundation survey.


Source: Recent Graduates Lack Soft Skills, New Study Reports – Higher Education

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