The soft skills gap is troubling, and while a study shows that the majority of corporate and academic respondents feel their new recruits and students are prepared with hard skills, more than 40 percent of corporations and almost 50 percent of academic institutions said new hires lack the soft skills to perform at a high level in a professional environment.

What’s more, the lack of collaboration and alignment between academia and business, along with planning and budget limitations, sideline efforts to prepare students for the skills they will need to be successful in the professional world.

Building Tomorrow’s Talent: Collaboration Can Close Emerging Skills Gap,” from Workday and Bloomberg Next, also points to barriers that keep new graduates from being prepared for current and future workplaces. The study highlights how skills needs have changed in the face of new technologies and the evolving nature of work.

The top soft skills that companies and academics say are needed are team work, analytical reasoning, complex problem-solving, and agility and adaptability.

Related: These 10 hard and soft skills will be key in 2019

Only 35 percent of corporations feel new recruits and students are well prepared with both hard and soft skills to perform at a high level in a professional environment.

Just 30 percent of corporations and 39 percent of educators say they are collaborating to address the skills gap and help reskill and retrain employees.

How can #HigherEd address the soft skills gap?

Leaders in academia and business know workplace skills requirements are changing. Though more can be done to invest in curriculum and reskilling programs to ensure the preparedness of tomorrow’s talent, the survey shows that only half of businesses have formal plans in place to address the impact of emerging technologies.

In addition, approximately only four in 10 corporate respondents plan to invest in reskilling current employees. Eighty-five percent of companies say their top way to reskill employees is to provide internal, in-person training, while 62 percent use self-service or online training. In addition, more than half plan to evolve job responsibilities to reflect future needs and improve their recruitment of diverse talent to address the impact new technology has on their workplace.

Related: How to develop soft skills in the digital age

Despite 41 percent of businesses planning to invest in reskilling, approximately half of corporate respondents anticipate facing budget constraints in order to do so. Academia faces the biggest investment crisis of all, with 84 percent of academic respondents saying budget resource constraints will be their biggest anticipated challenge in deploying plans to better prepare students for the future workforce.

More than 50 percent of corporate respondents plan to evolve job responsibilities to reflect future needs and improve their recruitment of diverse talent to address the impact new technology has on their workforce.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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