Today’s new millennial workforce is equipped with more advanced technology skills than any other generation. Recent graduates are more qualified for IT, cybersecurity, digital marketing and other careers than candidates with more workforce experience but a lack of tech competency. However, this generation of workers is faced with a different challenge. Many have not developed the soft skills needed to compete in an upper-level corporate culture.
A recent survey of small business and corporations across the U.S. reported that companies are not finding enough job candidates with detail orientation, communication skills, critical thinking, or problem solving skills. While close to 87% of graduates believe that they are ready for the workforce upon completion of their degrees, less than half of managers and recruiters agree. The lack of these soft skills in workers causes problems in business management, coworker relations, and interactions between employees and consumers.
This issue is especially prevalent with the workforce for small business. Because small businesses often have to find local talent rather than recruiting nationally, the pool of workers is limited. Most recruit from nearby universities or through word of mouth and must train new workers on the job in these skills. New workers who do not adapt well to learning these skills can cost employers because of their lack of efficiency in the work environment.
One of the most critical soft skills that millennial workers lack is communication. Some could argue that it’s not the lack of communication, but a different understanding of communication that causes problems between new workers and experienced managers. One study shows that miscommunication between coworkers can cost small businesses $420,000 per year in lost clients, unmet deadlines and more.
Most graduates don’t realize how important soft skills are to employers, but job postings requiring them have risen by 158% in the last three years. Entry-level workers who have proven themselves with critical thinking and communications abilities can earn on average $8,853 more than those that don’t. Many graduates are frustrated when they enter the workforce, and many believe partial fault is on the universities for not preparing students to become well-rounded job candidates.
The skills gap affects everyone. It hurts employers, limits workers, and causes a drop in customer satisfaction across the board. The only solution for this problem is for leadership - in the universities and in small businesses - to step up and build leaders for the future. If they do not take initiative and foster the growth of a better workforce the quality of skilled labor will only continue to diminish.