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Soft Skills Crisis Hits the UK

Soft Skills Crisis Hits the UK
15 January 2015 John Moore

McDonald’s, one of the UK’s largest private sector employers, is concerned that the importance of soft skills in the industry is not fully appreciated. It is estimated that so-called ‘soft skills’ are worth over £88 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy annually.

McDonald’s is just one of a growing number of large employers and organisations that recognise the value of soft skills as a key component of productivity and performance. The research commissioned by McDonald’s highlights a series of early warning signals arguing that employers, government and the training and education sector are not currently supporting soft skills sufficiently.

According to economists, Development Economics, who undertook the research, over ½ million UK workers are likely to be held back in their career by a lack of soft skills by 2020.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are those attributes and qualities that are needed for success in the workplace. Typically they encompass an individual’s ability to communicate effectively, to listen, to take and accept responsibility, to show respect and to build trust. They include the ability to manage time effectively, to work well with others and to manage conflict and motivation.

These are precisely the skills and behaviours Exponential Training has focused on for the past 15 years. For my team and I, this research is music to our ears and recognises the challenge that we have been addressing since 2000 when we launched Perspectives 360.

Perspectives 360 is our online 360 degree skill assessment and feedback tool that covers the six core skills of management – planning, communication, team working, leading, managing people and personal effectiveness. Each core skill is further subdivided into a set of specific skills which are based upon a set of behaviours associated with each specific skill. The key to the effectiveness of Perspectives 360 is that it is based on the frequency with which behaviours are demonstrated in the workplace.

Exponential Training Backs Soft Skills Campaign

Within minutes of learning about the Backing Soft Skills Campaign, Exponential Training signed up and is now looking to see how we can promote this initiative. We believe passionately that the development of soft skills is critical to effective personal and organisational performance. This is one of the reasons why we changed the way we deliver Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualifications.

McDonald’s has also enlisted the support of businessman and entrepreneur James Caan CBE to jointly lead a three-month consultation on the current practices and attitudes towards soft skills. Mr Caan commented:

“Soft skills matter-to individuals, businesses, and the wider UK economy. Part of the success in my journey wasn’t about my qualifications or experience, but it was the value I gave to soft skills that helped me to get where I am today.”

If like Exponential Training you believe soft skills are important, I urge you to visit www.backingsoftskills.co.uk and to take part in the three-month consultation exercise.

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


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