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Three-quarters of Americans would likely choose soft skills over experience and qualifications

March 05 2019

Having soft skills — personal, communications and time-management skills, enthusiasm, dependability/reliability — without the required experience seems to be more desirable than having the right experience or qualifications for a job but lacking soft skills, according to a survey released today by Yoh.

The survey found that if hiring for a job and the perfect candidate didn’t exist, 75% of Americans would most likely hire a job candidate who has soft skills and not the right experience or qualifications. If no perfect candidate existed, rather than choose someone with direct experience or qualifications and poor personal skills, 36% of Americans would most likely choose someone who is enthusiastic and willing to learn, 27% would choose someone who has excellent personal, communication and time management skills and 11% would hire someone who is very dependable/reliable.

Only 13% of Americans said they would most likely choose someone who has the right experience and qualifications but is lacking personal skills. Just over 12% say they most likely wouldn’t hire anyone and would leave the position unfilled indefinitely.

“These results say two very important things about today’s ultra-competitive job market,” said Yoh President Emmett McGrath. “One is that having the right experience and technical skills for a job is not enough — job candidates also need to fit in culturally and have non-technical skills in order to succeed.”

McGrath continued, “And two, hiring managers who recognize the value of soft skills and are more open in the candidates they consider will almost always be more successful in finding quality candidates than those that prioritize only hard skills. The talent landscape has gotten increasingly complex – and organizations who take a creative, strategic approach to their hiring will rise to the top.”

Women were more open to soft skills than men, while younger adults would choose hard skills over soft skills. The survey also found college grads and higher-earning households are more likely to opt for soft skills.

The survey of 2,015 US adults was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Yoh from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, 2019.


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