Over the past year I have reviewed nearly 50 articles focusing on the importance of soft skills in the job market. As an educator and curriculum writer I want to maintain awareness and give adequate attention to the development of soft skills (also known as transferrable skills) that will serve students as they transition to careers. I think it is critical that all teachers become aware of the fact that 61% of employers prioritize soft skills over hard skills (World Economic Forum, 2022). Therefore it is vital that educators intentionally provide opportunities for students to develop these skills.
The articles span between 2018 – 2022, each included a list of “top soft skills” for the given year. I found it interesting that in any given year multiple lists for the “top soft skills” were published with varying degrees of congruency. I created a combined lists of all transferrable skills and combined phrasing/titles that were synonymous. Finally, I ranked the skills based on number of times each skill was included on a list as well as where the skill was ranked within the various lists.
The following is a result of the analysis; it represents the most consistent and enduring soft skills students need to be prepared for the job market.
- Problem solving (current trend is complex problem solving)
- Communication (writing, speaking, listening)
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Critical thinking
- Emotional Intelligence
- Time management
- Continue learning – curiosity
Problem solving, communication, and collaboration were mentioned in 96% of the reviewed artifacts and were generally ranked within the top 5 (over 60% of the time). Creativity, adaptability, and critical thinking were included on nearly 80% of the lists and were generally ranked within the top 6. The remaining four were typically ranked 6th, 7th, or 8th on many of the lists.
This exercise has reaffirmed my commitment to the importance of soft skills as well as their inclusion and deliberate integration within the Math Literacy Project. Each project includes soft skills but will focus on one and have students reflect upon its development and importance within their life. Students and teachers being more aware of the development and use of these skills will build a more cohesive classroom community.