In The News: Four ways to narrow the ‘soft skills’ gap in the U.S. by Melissa Kersey

July 06, 2018

Melissa Kersey is the Chief People Officer for McDonald’s USA. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.

Our nation is facing a shift in its workforce due to an aging population, automation, and an ongoing soft skills gap. Employers today are re-examining which skills matter most to them. Core soft skills -- customer service, teamwork, and responsibility -- matter, especially for individuals just starting out, as they establish a strong foundation from which they can build over the course of their career.

Did you know the difference between career success and career stagnation can come down to just a few job skills? In fact, research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center have all concluded that 85 percent of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills and only 15 percent of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge.

But the soft skills gap isn’t new and the need for development increasingly matters. For years and as recently as April, a LinkedIn study concluded that the number one skills gap in the U.S. is basic communication skills -- a gap that was three times higher than that of software engineering.

So, why is this still a growing problem for employers and employees alike?

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