Virtual College were interested in soft skills as they believe that these skills are often overlooked in favour of others which can easily be quantified, such as technical credentials. This is despite soft skills being beneficial and valuable to organisations. They wanted to find real data that would highlight exactly which soft skills professionals felt supported their job, and what barriers were preventing their development.
As Simon Falconer, Chief Marketing Officer at Virtual College, explains, ‘Surveys such as this help us find the real story behind the learners’ motivations and needs when it comes to learning, which then in turn helps us make the right recommendations to businesses who are developing their training and training plans.’
The survey, which was sent out to a large pool of their learners covering a wide range of sectors, consisted of 10 questions designed to discover which soft skills professionals felt they already had, which they wanted to develop, in what ways they usually would develop these skills, and why they aren’t being developed.
It provided some interesting insights. When asked which skills they felt were required to support their job, the top five were:
- Dealing with stressful situations (52%)
- Influencing, negotiating and networking (44%)
- Confidence (40%)
- Giving and receiving feedback (34%)
- Time management (33%)
When asked if there is anything preventing the development of these skills, 65% said they didn’t have time, 39% said they were unsure where to find the materials or resources and 30% equally said procrastination and guilt at taking the time to do the training.
These results not only demonstrate that there are numerous soft skills that professionals recognise are essential for their job, but businesses can benefit from them. By highlighting what skills employees need and what barriers they face, they can provide an excellent starting point when creating a training strategy for employees, helping to ensure that their employees are receiving the training that they need.
For training relating to the five skills: