Job Skills Companies Want but Can’t Get

Man in business suit looking through binoculars
Man in business suit looking through binoculars

Surprisingly, some students leave graduate school highly educated yet lacking the knowledge, skills and abilities that are most sought after by employers.

According to a Bloomberg survey that ranked 122 business school programs, the most coveted skills are also the most elusive. To determine which skills companies want but aren’t finding, Bloomberg surveyed 1,320 job recruiters at more than 600 companies. The skills and characteristics that are most desired by recruiters and hiring managers include strategic thinking, creative problem solving, leadership and communications.

These skills are often described as soft skills. They are less technical and tangible than hard skills, such as computer programming or language proficiency, and often based on instinct and character. People who are good at them are often perceived as likable, and likability gains momentum quickly in the workforce.

While soft skills can be tricky to learn, it is possible, especially for professional purposes. However, corporations would rather see incoming workers exhibit these skills before being hired so they don’t have to teach soft skills on the job. In a study by Millennial Branding, 97% of employers surveyed indicate they look for candidates with a positive attitude, and 92% view teamwork skills as very important. At the top of the must-have list: communication skills, which encompass the ability to write, speak, present and listen.

Communication skills are essential, according to 98% of employers surveyed. The skills that seem to be the most common among business graduates and the least desired by employers are the ability to take risks and make decisions, the propensity to have a global mindset and the tendency toward entrepreneurship.

Staking a place in the middle of the survey results – somewhat common among grads and moderately desired by corporations – is the ability to think analytically and work collaboratively. The least common and least desired skills include having industry-related work experience and being adaptable.

At Spring Arbor University, we see our students as whole people, and through education we support their efforts to create a better life. We recognize the importance of being well-rounded and balanced – focusing on the soft skills and hard skills needed for success and fulfillment.

If you’re interested in advancing your career and feeling more secure in life, consider Spring Arbor University’s online, personalized 18-month MBA program.