When it comes to soft skills, there are a lot of numbers flying around. But what’s the real deal? How many people are actually using these skills and how can you make sure that you’re one of them?
Soft skills are those personal qualities, behaviors, attitudes and abilities that help you succeed in your job, like problem solving and communication skills. These types of skills are considered “soft” because they can’t be measured with a test or assigned a number grade. They’re often what employers are looking for when they hire someone new—but it seems like many people aren’t aware of how important they are!
As someone who is looking for the latest soft skills statistics, we know that sometimes it can be hard to find the information you need. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of soft skills statistics—they’re all here in one place so you can quickly and easily access them whenever you need them!
Now, you can use this list to hone your own soft skills and make sure that your career is on track!
Soft Skills Statistics (The Highlights)
- 53% of employers consider soft skills “essential” when making a hiring decision.
- 54% of employees say they haven’t added soft skills to their CVs.
- Up to 40% of the jobs in the next decade will require explicit social-emotional skills.
- Teachers are 15% more likely to prioritize literacy as a soft skill than their students.
- 91% of talent professionals believe that soft skills can transform the workplace.
- 57% of companies have a hard time assessing the soft skills of their applicants.
- 85.5% of employers look for problem-solving skills in the skillsets of their applicants.
- 88% of college-educated Americans are confident in their critical thinking skills.
- One in three job postings contains baseline or soft skills requirements.
Soft Skills in the Hiring Process Statistics
1. One in three job postings contains baseline or soft skills requirements.
Soft skill requirements are the least prevalent in highly technical job postings. For example, only 25% of the skill requirements in the information technology sector and 26% in healthcare are soft skill requirements.
On the other hand, they are much more prevalent in job postings for occupations that require “people” skills. 51% of the requirements for customer and client support, 43% of the clerical and administrative, as well as human resources job postings are soft skill requirements.
2. 53% of employers consider soft skills “essential” when making a hiring decision.
According to a recent survey, 40.1% of employers consider the candidates’ soft skills “very important,” while 6.5% use the word “important” to describe their significance. Furthermore, only 0.5% of the respondents said they hadn’t considered the importance of soft skills when making a hiring decision.
Interestingly, 0% of the respondents answered that soft skills are “not important.”
3. A lack of soft skills, with 30%, is among the top reasons organizations find hiring suitable candidates hard.
According to a recent survey, 83% of the organizations had trouble finding suitable hiring candidates in the last 12 months.
In addition to losing talent to the competition, the lack of work experience, and technical skills among the candidates, 30% of employers pointed out candidates not having the right workplace (soft) skills as a reason this process is so challenging.
You could be a whiz at problem-solving, but if you can’t communicate your ideas effectively, or if you’re not self-aware enough to know when your decision-making skills are failing you, then what’s the point? The same goes for leadership and influence and creativity and innovation. If you don’t have those skills, it’s hard to get ahead in business.
4. 57% of companies have a hard time assessing the soft skills of their applicants.
On the other hand, 41% of companies have a formal process for soft skills assessment. Of them, 75% use behavioral questions, 70% read the candidate’s body language, and 58% rely on situational questions to assess their soft skills.
Other methods that are not so common include assigning applicants to projects that reveal their soft skills in practice, used by 31% of employers, and conducting tech-based assessments used by only 17% of companies.
5. 85.5% of employers look for problem-solving skills in the skillsets of their applicants.
According to a recent survey, problem-solving is the most sought-for trait for 2022. Moreover, problem solving is the top skill that business leaders find lacking in employees.
Last year’s survey shows that the skill was in demand in 2021 as well, but slightly less prevalent, with 79% of employers saying they look for it. At that time, the ability to work with a team was the skill that most employers were looking for, with 81%. This year, it dropped to 76.3%.
Other popular attributes that employers appreciate are analytical skills (78.6%), written communication skills (73.3%), the ability to take the initiative (72.5%), and a strong work ethic (71%).
6. 54% of employees say they haven’t added soft skills to their CVs.
Potential hires simply don’t understand the value of human interpersonal skills.
According to a recent report, soft skills revolving around empathy and communication contribute £88 billion to the UK economy. Moreover, 97% of employers agree that soft skills are important to the success of their business. However, one in five potential hires says they don’t feel confident describing their soft skills to potential employers.
This is why the biggest challenge for 55% of CFOs is finding an accountant with the necessary soft skills on top of their qualifications and competency.
The Impact of Soft Skills on the Workplace Statistics
7. A study from 1918 found that technical skills only contribute 15%, while soft skills contribute 85% to job success.
The findings from research made by Harvard, Stanford, and the Carnegie Foundation more than 100 years ago are still relevant today. For example, according to a much more recent study by the ASTD, American employers spent $171.5 billion on employee training and skills development in 2010. 27.6% of those education funds were spent on soft skills development.
(National Soft Skills, TD)
8. Soft skills are most appreciated in Mexico, where 96% of talent professionals consider them very important.
Statistics show that soft skills are generally regarded as very important all over the world.
There are five regions where 95% of talent professionals classify them this way, and they are Brazil, India, Italy, Southeast Asia, and Spain. Furthermore, 94% of the recruiting experts in Canada and 90% in the US believe that soft skills are very important.
However, in Europe, while still in a high percentile, the share of talent professionals who consider soft skills very important is considerably lower. 90% of them in the UK, 89% in France, 88% in Germany, 85% in the Netherlands, and only 82% in Northern Europe agree with this statement.
9. Communication skills are the most important soft skills for recruiters in six different industries.
A recent survey shows that 68.6% of the recruiters in the chemical industry, 74.3% in finance, 63.8% in manufacturing, 73.9% in pharmaceuticals, 55.7% in technology, and 79.5% in the transportation sector consider communication skills as the most important.
Analytical thinking is the most important in the energy and retail sectors, according to 82.3% and 66.7% of the recruiters, respectively.
Finally, 70.6% of the recruiters in the consumer industry consider leadership skills as the most important.
10. 92% of employers say that soft skills matter as much or even more than technical skills.
While the majority, or 62% of employers, believe both soft and technical skills are equally important when hiring an applicant, 30% believe soft skills are more important, and only 8% prioritize technical skills.
Additionally, 89% of the bad hires were employees who were missing soft skills. More precisely, 45% of them lacked soft skills, 44% lacked both soft and technical skills, and only 11% of employees who lacked technical skills were considered bad hires.
11. 46% of managers say that young workers could use some work on their communication skills.
Additionally, 56% of them believe that recent graduates could improve their attention to detail, 44% report a lack of leadership skills, and 36% believe their teamwork skills are inept.
Moreover, 60% of managers say the freshly graduated employees in their organizations don’t have the necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills for the jobs they were given.
Soft Skills Development Statistics
12. 91% of talent professionals believe that soft skills can transform the workplace.
According to company leaders and experts, soft skills is the top trend that can transform the workplace, above work flexibility and pay transparency. 80% of them agree that soft skills today are more important than ever, and their importance will likely increase in the future.
Employers also say that the top five skills organizations are looking for are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management.
13. 74% of talent developers believe that leadership skills are the most important skills to learn in an L&D program.
Statistics show that people managers and executives don’t prioritize leadership skills as much as talent developers as only 66% and 65% of them consider them as most important.
These three groups are more aligned regarding communication skills, as 66% of talent developers and managers consider them essential, while 64% of executives feel the same way.
For 55% of executives, collaboration skills are critical, while 50% of talent developers and people managers agree with this statement.
14. 31% of employers believe the soft skills of their entry-level job candidates are adequate.
At the same time, 53% of employers believe that the soft skills of the people they currently employ are good enough. Therefore, it is alarming that 97% of employers also believe that their employees’ soft skills affect their job performance.
The solution is to train soft skills through workforce development systems. 90% of employers believe that soft skills training can develop and evaluate the skills of their current and new employees.
(Career Education Review, Wonderlics)
15. 58% of employers believe that new college graduates are not prepared for the workforce of today.
Most notably, they find a lack of social-emotional skills in freshly graduated students. 55% of young people agree that this is one of their flaws and only 33% of them say that their teachers provide them with feedback on their social-emotional skills development.
The teachers, on the other hand, beg to differ, as 60% of them believe they provide plenty of feedback on the matter. Additionally, 63% of teachers say they integrate social-emotional skill-building in their lessons, while 37% teach it when an opportunity to do so arises.
16. Teachers are 15% more likely to prioritize literacy as a soft skill than their students.
Similarly, critical thinking is 12%, numeracy is 7%, social awareness is 5%, and communication is 4% more likely to be prioritized by the teachers than students.
In contrast, the students are 20% more likely to prioritize digital skills than the teachers. They also prioritize creativity by 13%, relationship skills by 5%, intercultural understanding by 4%, and ethical understanding by 2% more than their teachers.
A research collaboration by Microsoft and McKinsey called “The class of 2030” found that automation may replace up to 50% of the existing jobs in the US. Furthermore, lower education occupations are expected to decline by up to 11.5 million jobs by 2030.
At the same time, jobs that require soft skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking will grow at a great pace. Unfortunately, their research also found that less than 50% of the students will be prepared for such jobs due to the current state of the education system.
18. 51% of employers think the education system has not done enough to address the skills shortage issue.
In alignment with this statement, 50% of employers believe that the shortage of skills, both soft and technical, has worsened in the last two years. Only 10% of the respondents report improvement in this area.
In addition, 37% of employers believe the applicants are missing the necessary creativity, critical thinking, innovation, and problem-solving skills. Moreover, 32% believe candidates lack the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, while 31% say the applicants lack communication skills.
What Do Employees Think About Soft Skills?
19. 79% of recent graduates believe their organizational skills are ready for the workplace, but only 54% of hiring managers agree.
There are considerable gaps between the percentage of recent graduates who feel ready to take their soft skills to the workplace today and the share of hiring managers who evaluate them as prepared.
For example, 75% of grads believe they develop slide presentations in a concise and compelling manner, while only 60% of managers view their ability as such. Additionally, 77% of freshly graduated students believe they prioritize work; however, half of the hiring managers beg to differ, as only 50% of them assess this skill as workplace-ready.
(Inside Higher Ed)
20. 88% of college-educated Americans are confident in their critical thinking skills.
However, according to a recent study, only 9% of these respondents received an A when taking a digital literacy and critical thinking test. The test contained nine questions about fake news identification, requiring eight correct answers to get an A. Unfortunately, an overwhelming 69% of the respondents failed to answer more than five questions correctly.
The generation who received the most A grades were Baby Boomers with 13%, while Millennials had the worst results, with only 5% of them receiving an A. Additionally, 74% of Millennials got an F with less than five correct answers.
21. Less than 20% of workers in the UK gave themselves an excellent rating on soft skills.
A new study by Ethical Angel found that only 19% of employees in the UK rate their soft skill set as excellent. The survey asked more than 1,000 employees about how satisfied they were with their ability to manage their emotions and relationships with others at work.
Soft skills are traits like communication, teamwork, and creativity—things that can’t be learned in a classroom but that employers want to see from potential hires.
Soft skills are often overlooked by managers who focus on hard skills like technical proficiency instead of emotional intelligence and personal development. But managers who do take the time to develop their employees’ soft skill sets will see more engaged workers and better team dynamics—which ultimately leads to higher productivity and profitability for any company.
If you’re part of the 19% who aren’t sure about their soft skill set… don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to learn more about improving yourself, whether it’s by using an online course or taking a class at a local community college or university.
As you can see, soft skills are important for your career—but not just in the workplace. They can help you make friends and influence people outside of work as well.
So what do you need to do next?
First, stop thinking about soft skills as something that only applies to people who work in an office. Soft skills are for everyone—for every type of job and every industry.
Second, take some time to reflect on your own soft skills. What do you need to work on? What are your strengths? Take some time to think about it and write down your thoughts so you have them ready when you need them.
Thirdly, remember that it’s not just about having good soft skills—it’s about improving them! If you feel like there are areas where you could use some improvement, find out what those areas are and how you can improve them.
We hope that this article has provided you with a clear understanding of what soft skills are and how they can help you in your professional and personal life. With these statistics under your belt, it’s time to take your soft skills training a step further and start practicing what you know!
Thank you for reading!