Managers Want Entry-Level Workers with Soft Skills

No amount of skills training can overcome
a bad attitude or a weak work ethic.
If your employee doesn’t show up
ready to work hard and be engaged,
you hired the wrong person.

For several years, now, employers have been frustrated at the shortage of skilled, experienced candidates who can jump right into a position, ready to be productive. But their expectations for entry-level workers is something different, according to a recent survey by Instructure, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company and creator of the Bridge learning and engagement platform.

The survey, which polled approximately 750 managers at U.S. companies in various industries, measured which factors managers value most when hiring, which attributes they believe will most help entry-level employees succeed, and their perception of employee competence in those same areas before and after receiving formal training.

The results should cause Millennials who are about to enter the workforce to sit up and take note: What matters least to managers is a candidate’s prestigious schooling. Instead, “the data showed that managers place a higher emphasis on finding and hiring individuals with skills that are difficult or impossible to be taught. When hiring, virtually all managers said attitude and work ethic are the most important considerations in choosing a candidate and 85 percent reported work ethic as the most important attribute for employee success.”

That’s not to say that schooling isn’t important. The study went on to show that, in addition to key attributes, managers also value skills that entry-level employees learned in school. Managers hope to build on those skills as they train new workers to develop other skills necessary for the position. While many managers believe that their organization can effectively train new employees overall, few believe that training can improve vital attributes such as attitude and work ethic.

“Most companies are hiring talent based on soft skills like attitude and hard work, with the hope that they can train them to be up to par on things like tech skills and industry knowledge,” said Davis Bell, VP of Corporate Markets. “To do that, managers have to make sure their organizational training is on point.”

To better understand Millennials in your workplace, read this.

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