Soft Skills

Hard skills are responsible for just 15 percent of success in the workplace, while soft skills make up 85 percent, according to one study [1]. As a result, college and university administrators are investing in job applicants who possess attributes like a positive attitude, communication skills and punctuality. If you are looking for new staff to join your team, here are eight soft skills that you should look out for.


Productive employees increase the overall efficiency of an organization. These staff members are more likely to execute their duties in a speedy time frame and make the best use of your resources. They also provide high standards of service to students. This is one of the most important soft skills to look out for when interviewing new employees at your university or college.


Most university courses don’t teach students how to become more engaged employees. Still, employers often seek out graduates with this valuable soft skill. Research shows companies with engaged employees outperform other companies by 202 percent [2]. Moreover, organizations with highly engaged staff members generate, on average, 2.3 times more revenue than organizations with “averagely” engaged employees.


Job applicants who show leadership qualities will make a great addition to any higher education team. “Leaders must inspire employees to get excited about the company and their work, pushing them to excel and helping them along the way,” says the Houston Chronicle [3]. Leadership is one of the many soft skills taught on Concordia University’s Master of Business Administration course [4].


Communication is an essential soft skill because it allows organizations to operate efficiently [5]. One study suggests that communication skills determine 85 percent of success in life [6]. “Good communication in the workplace fosters productivity and efficiency,” says Florida International University [7]. “It’s not only important for team members to communicate openly and effectively, but it’s also important for managers and supervisors to communicate expectations to employees, keeping them engaged and informed.” Communication is one of the soft skills recommended by the University of Cincinnati’s Graduate School [8].


Punctuality is important in any organization — one in five Americans arrives late for work at least one day a week [9]. Look for applicants with good time-keeping skills in order to improve productivity within your university or college.

Positive Attitude

Employees who have a positive attitude are more likely to cope with the growing demands of your workplace. These staff members experience less stress and motivate other colleagues [10]. You can also use evidence-based tools to gauge positivity among your current staff.


More employers value workplace collaboration than ever before. If you don’t seek out job applicants who work well within a team, you might regret it. Eighty-six percent of executives and employees say a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication is the reason for failure in the workplace [11].

Computer Skills

While specific IT knowledge is a hard skill, basic computer proficiency is a soft skill that could make all the difference in your university or college. Finding employees with this talent is harder than you might think. A recent study suggests that 32 percent of millennials lack basic work-related computer skills [12].

If you are hiring new staff, consider the eight soft skills on this list when interviewing applicants. Alternatively, invest in soft skills training for your existing staff. The best online programs improve workplace readiness and turnover and make sure employees meet the demands of your organization. Click here to find out more!