There was no doubt that Jake was a smart boy. He had a photographic memory and was always ahead of his peers in class. However, Jake lived a reserved life. He made little effort to know his classmates or teachers.
He used most of his time studying and playing video games. For him, virtual reality was a much easier life than social interaction, arriving home early, or deep critical thinking.
Without any ambition for future endeavors, Jake was obliviously conditioning himself to a life of mediocrity.
Although he took comfort in secluding himself in the basement and playing video games, outside his door, a lot was happening. He missed chances of interacting with people and exploring the opportunities that the outside world presented.
In short, what this fictional Jake had was a total imbalance of life skills. Although he was academically gifted, he lacked the basic people skills and soft skills. Whereas hard skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic have there are good, soft skills help us cope with life.
What Are Soft Skills?
There is no single definition of soft skills. It is a general description of abilities ranging from how present yourself to how you interact with other people. It is basically how you relate with others and the way you apply ingenuity and effort.
Lack of Soft Skills In The workplace
As important as it is, many employers admit that the majority of their employees lack soft skills. Although the situation may not be the same everywhere in the world, most employers are raising concerns about today’s college grads.
It appears puzzling that most people assume that such skills are obtained naturally from socialization while growing up. But with the rising evidence of the lack of soft skills, employers are getting perturbed when they hire college grads with great academic papers but end up performing dismally.
In a study conducted in 2018, approximately four out of 10 and more than half of academic institutions admitted that new grads lacked soft skills.
Those who participated in the survey said that the lack of soft skills is a major issue and that new recruits are not well prepared to solve most of the daily challenges faced in the workplace.
The respondents mentioned the lack of the following skills:
• Interpersonal skills and empathy
• Communication skills
• Perseverance and persistence
• Work ethic
• Growth mindset and optimism
• Analytical and critical thinking
• Creative problem solving
When our fictional Jake is hired for his first job, his lack of soft skills will be evident. He dislikes collaborating with colleagues on projects. He would rather text or call than have a face-to-face meeting with his colleagues or boss.
He freezes when he is required to solve a pressing problem or make a critical decision. Instead of seeking help from his friends or colleagues, Jake buries his head in the sand hoping that the problem will somehow disappear. He doesn’t feel any shame for ignoring the issue because he knows someone else will handle it.
Why is There a Deficit of Soft Skills?
As the problem persists, many people are wondering where the rain started beating us. A quick answer would be to blame the advancement of technology and how we relate with each other. Although it is a major factor, a lack of soft skills cannot be entirely blamed on technology.
There are some people who believe that the overemphasis of America’s K-12 system on standardized testing has led to a greater focus on hard skills at the expanse of soft skills. Most States like Dallas and many others have taken note of this and starting to reconsider their approach of education.
Employers are seriously beginning to notice this deficiency of soft skills and are pushing back slowly. They have realized that employees that lack these important lack skills are hurting their businesses. It doesn’t matter what type of business a company is involved in, they still have to interact with human beings.
How Soft Skills Affect Your Life
Soft skills are not just about IT staffing and other careers. They have a far-reaching impact throughout your life. They are the ones that make you relate well with other people. Think about the ability to solve daily problems, to think critically, to have compassion towards others.
These are just but a few examples of sift skills. They are important in making us better people in almost every aspect of life. This is not to say that hard skills are not important. The best thing is to know how to strike a strong balance between the two sets of skills.