Surveys show soft skills are more important to employers than hard skills

Learn how developing soft skills can help you land your next job

Angelie Rasmussen, student at Utah Valley University

Recent surveys found the one trait employers value most in a potential job candidate was neither the candidate’s competency nor level of experience, but his or her ability to listen.

Following that criterion, ability to effectively communicate ranked close behind.

Approximately 70% of employers said they value these soft skills in potential employees over hard skills.

In the same study, over 1,500 past and present college students were asked how they viewed the job market and their futures. ~65% believe that landing a job is more difficult for them than for the past generations. ~77% were uncertain if they had the skills needed for a job.

Effort, time, and money is spent on gaining the hard skills necessary for our dream jobs. Perhaps it’s time to shift the focus a bit. A study done in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly interviewed 57 business executives, asking for the top 10 soft skills they seek in employees. 100% of the executives said they value integrity and communication skills in an employee.

The combined, top-10 list of important soft skills according to the executives is as follows:

1. Integrity

2. Communication

3. Courtesy

4. Responsibility

5. Interpersonal skills

6. Professionalism

7. Positive attitude

8. Teamwork skills

9. Flexibility

10. Work ethic

The researchers cite multiple studies validating the importance of soft skills to not just employers’ decisions, but employees’ success in their careers, relationships, and interactions.

Soft skills are universal and applicable to any job, from customer service to STEM careers.

There’s room to argue that hard skills are weak without soft skills—they need each other to reach full potential and strength.

So, how do we get there?

Soft skills probably aren’t something you learned in a classroom—so we created one:

a personal, on-the-go soft skills and self-development course to help you, your employees, or your students succeed. Sign up at

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