When you’re a recent graduate without much experience looking for your first job out of college, you typically fill your resume with such buzzwords as “critical thinking”, “great communication skills”, and “great problem-solving skills”. Those might sound clichéd, but according to Public Policy Institute surveys in both 2014 and 2017, those are all skills that a majority of employers have the hardest time finding. In the 2017 survey, more than half of employers also reported difficulty in finding candidates who are dependable and have time management skills.
These are often considered “soft skills”, but that’s by no means to discredit their importance. They might seem basic, but let’s put it this way. If you have somebody who is extremely capable in one specific niche field, but doesn’t have any of the skills mentioned above, their use is pretty limited. Those skills are flexible, and somebody who can master them is extremely valuable. To ensure that college students develop these skills, they need to be addressed and honed deliberately.
While a shortage in those skills is notable, this isn’t a cheesy “as long as you’re smart and work hard you’ll do well” posts. Because employers also reported that scientific and technical-related skills were the toughest to find and the highest in demand. In regards to qualifications, employers reported it was hardest to find bachelor’s degrees in engineering, as well as certain manufacturing skills and qualifications that may not require a bachelor’s degree. Such findings are consistent with a 2015 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found that demand for STEM employees with bachelor’s and master’s have the highest demand.
A while back, I heard the best degrees for getting a job were those that sounded like jobs, and the example that I heard was engineering. So that fits in nicely with that list above. And I can say that at Chartwell, such skills are hot commodities for sure. But that’s by no means to discredit some of the other skills listed above, which are essential to adapting. You can learn an extremely complex programming language and be in high demand, but the problem with tech is that it becomes obsolete. So don’t forget or trivialize those skills!