The 3 in-demand soft skills candidates are ‘most lacking in,’ according to ZipRecruiter


According to recent research from ZipRecruiter, hiring managers are placing less emphasis on candidates' college education and degrees. In fact, 45% of companies have dropped degree requirements for certain roles. Instead, companies are prioritizing skills when looking for candidates. LinkedIn data shows that 42% of companies now use skills-related metrics in their hiring process, a 12% increase from the previous year.

The reasons behind this shift towards skills-based hiring are not entirely clear. It could be due to various factors such as the decline in college enrollment post-pandemic, concerns about rising tuition costs, or the challenges of a tight labor market. Nevertheless, the trend of valuing skills over degrees is gaining momentum in the job market.

When employers no longer require degrees, they become more specific about the skills they seek in job postings. This includes not only technical skills but also soft skills that were once associated with a college education. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review and The Burning Glass Institute, the top three skills that employers often find lacking in candidates are time management, professionalism, and critical thinking. It's important to note that professionalism can vary across different work settings as certain industries may have different expectations.

Employers participating in ZipRecruiter's survey expressed a strong desire to find responsible employees who can communicate effectively with clients and colleagues. This emphasis on soft skills has become one of the biggest challenges in post-pandemic hiring for HR professionals, primarily due to staffing shortages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the presence of multiple generations in the workforce.

The workplace today is more age-diverse than ever before, with baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z working side by side. However, this diversity can lead to friction and differing professional norms. Some employers perceive that younger generations are not acquiring these essential soft skills during their education. As a result, many companies hired employees lacking these skills during the recruitment challenges of 2021 and 2022.

Now, companies are attempting to address this "soft skills gap" by investing in training programs to enhance employees' soft skills and by seeking candidates who can contribute to improved productivity and team performance.

To optimize your chances in a skills-based hiring environment, it is crucial to tailor your resume to highlight the skills mentioned in the job description. This can be done by including examples of how you have utilized these skills in your previous work experiences. It may also be beneficial to create a dedicated section on your resume, such as "Core Skills" or "Areas of Expertise," where you can explicitly list and provide evidence of your relevant skills through anecdotes or data.  

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