Including intangible attributes such as punctuality, flexibility, good communication and cooperativeness, soft skills are impossible to quantify but are, according to increasingly exasperated bosses, potentially far more valuable than exam results.
The absence of these skills is the reason why, despite huge youth unemployment (737,000 people, nearly 17 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds, are currently jobless), 54 per cent of employers, while agreeing recruits are more highly qualified than ever, still complain that they can’t fill vacancies.
And that is something that can’t be outsourced to a computer.
If you can’t do one of the two, then it’s time to brush up on your shelf-stacking.
It’s not technology – technology is a raw material.
What makes human beings unique is one thing – creativity.
“While I didn’t for a moment say [manners] are more important than good exam results, if I’m interviewing somebody, she walks in, she looks me in the eye, she sits down, she knows how to engage me conversationally and she doesn’t bore me rigid, I’m going to be far more impressed than with somebody who walks in with some kick-ass CV but hasn’t bothered to wash her hair, is picking at her nails, can’t look me in the eye, and is frankly boring me rigid. I’ve never forgotten my surprise on meeting an eight-year-old schoolgirl who shook my hand and looked me in the eye with a beaming smile.
She had just graduated from a top university with a first, and asked for help finding a job in journalism.They’re why, despite our patriotism, many of my friends end up employing eastern-European builders, nannies and assistants, because – unlike many of their British counterparts – they show up on time, smile and aren’t forever distracted by Facebook.