Job Candidates Lose Through Lack of Soft Skills, Say Most Business Leaders

Posted: 15th of August 2016 by Nerys Montana

As millions of young people across the country receive their exam results and prepare to enter the world of work, new research from British Gas has highlighted that soft skills and personality are top attributes the majority of business leaders look for when hiring.

More than half of bosses surveyed look for volunteering experience as evidence of these skills and almost all (94%) say a business can get great results from employees who have volunteered. More than half of employers say they have turned down candidates because they lacked soft skills and personality.

Almost two-thirds of 16-25 year-olds think businesses only care about academic grades when hiring.  However nine in ten employers say candidates should focus on soft skills just as much as their grades.

Despite soft skills and volunteering being top priorities for employers, four in ten young people have never volunteered, and almost a quarter do not believe that it will help them get a job.  More than a third (34%) admit to being too busy concentrating on exams to make time for volunteering.

Claire Miles, Managing Director for Customer Operations at British Gas commented:  “Whilst good exam results can boost opportunities for young people, our survey highlights that employers are also looking for evidence of soft skills and personality before making a final decision on whom to hire.

“Most young people think that employers only care about their academic achievements – but that’s not the case. There’s a real opportunity for young people to boost their chances of employment through volunteering, which is a great indicator of soft skills.

“Some of our apprentices complete the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, during which they spend time volunteering in their community. We find that this helps our employees to relate better to our customers and improve service.” 

When interviewing new employees, British Gas asks candidates about their volunteering experience, to give them the opportunity to demonstrate skills they may have developed as a result.

You can find out more about British Gas’ work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award here:  

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