Yesterday, the Metro featured a disturbing piece on graduates leaving university without basic workplace ethics i.e. the soft skills essential for life long employment.
Basic skills such as teamwork, problem solving are missing along with the work ethic soft skills – timekeeping, attendance, communication etc.
A spokesman for higher education said schools should teach this. Schools would probably say the reverse – it’s Uni or parents’ responsibilities.
So in all of this buck passing, who should and is equipped to teach this?
There isn’t a one size solution to this problem. Many young people from diverse backgrounds aren’t aware of these soft skills whether from a dysfunctional or privileged background. The fact is this simple area of employability skills can prevent someone getting a job, keeping it and growing it into a career.
I encountered a graduate who was outwardly very confident, with strong communication skills but no idea where flirting stopped and sexual harassment took over! Her work in the role was excellent but her communication in the workplace makes the whole team feel uncomfortable. What she doesn’t realise is a claim can come from anyone in the office or someone passing through it.
Another person had the importance of attendance and sickness explained to them and the consequences on the team, business and her prospects of securing the permanent job. Having attended just half the days she should have due to sickness. Silly reasons like having had a Friday off for a stomach bug, been fine over the weekend and then get another bug on the Monday doesn’t look great to the employer. Now on her final chance – will she take on board the guidance given? We wait to see……..
A key missing point is JobCentre Plus. In general, everyone – graduate or not – will be a client of JobCentre Plus before going into work. Maybe this would be the best area to focus on these essential soft employability skills?
Remember when hiring in the traditional recruitment way – you won’t usually have exposure to someone’s ‘soft skills’. Maybe a trial period like http://www.growing-talent.co.uk would help?