In a ground-breaking research report which sees McDonald’s UK Backing Soft Skills, their value to the UK economy has been highlighted. They have statistics that demonstrate the great importance of Soft Skills in preparing people to work in the present economy, in advancing careers and growing businesses.
The report found that Soft Skills has contributed £88 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy every year. It is expected this will grow to £109 billion by 2020.
It also demonstrated that by 2020, 535,000 workers will be significantly disadvantaged in their efforts to gain employment or advance in their chosen professions or industry sectors unless they take seriously the development of their Soft Skills. The annual overall expected loss of production due to Soft Skills deficits is likely to be £8.4 per year by 2020.
So What Is Happening Here?
Firstly, we have some significant measurements on what Soft Skills contribute to the economy. This has always been an argument of the skeptics – how do you measure them and their value because if you can’t measure them, they have little value? For many they were just too “soft” to take seriously, when, in fact, they are very hard skills to learn and develop. What McDonald’s UK has highlighted is that now is the time to take Soft Skills seriously. To not do so is to jeopardise not just people’s lives and livelihoods, but the overall economy.
No one is denying the importance of strong professional qualifications and industry sector skills. No one is going to employ or engage someone to work for them if they are not qualified in these areas and if they don’t keep those qualifications updated. In the past people have been rewarded and promoted on the basis of how technically qualified they are. We are now aware that they need to give as much attention to the development of their Soft Skills – their interpersonal and communication skills and their self-mastery and self-management skills – as they did to those technical skills.
What has become clear, however, is that we don’t have managers with well-developed Soft Skills who can developed their team members. They are not good communicators; they don’t get on well with people; they are not, in fact, very likeable. They cannot motivate, inspire or lead their teams. In short, they are bad for business because good talented people with all the potential leave, and all the organisation has left is a manager deficient in Soft Skills.
Soft Skills are the skills that make people highly valued in the workplace. They become great team players. They get on well with others. They act responsibly. They are positive and pro-active. They manage stress and conflict well. They are resilient and bounce back from adversity quickly. They are solution-focused. They are respectful of their fellow workers, their clients and customers.
These people with well-developed Soft Skills are great assets in organisations. They are good for the organisation and good for business. Most importantly, however, their well-developed Soft Skills, complementing their professional or industry sector specific skills, give them a high employability rating! Their Soft Skills make them highly sought after employees in any organisation.
With McDonald’s UK Backing Soft Skills a significant step forward has been taken. This research has highlighted the enormous importance of taking Soft Skills seriously.