Soft skills and personality are top attributes that employers look for when deciding on hires, according to research from British Gas.
More than half of the employers surveyed said they have turned down candidates because they lacked soft skills and personality. Furthermore, 94% said they believe they get real results from employees who have volunteering experience on their CV.
More than a third (34%) of employers said they look at a candidate’s social media profile to gauge their personality before arranging to meet them in person. Wehn surveying young people applying for roles four in ten admitted that their social profile online was not ‘potential employer-ready’.
Two thirds of young people aged 16-25 said they think businesses only care about their academic achievements, however nine in ten employers said candidates should focus on soft skills just as much as their grades.
Four in ten young people claimed to have never volunteered and almost a quarter said they believe it would not help them to get a job. 34% admitted to being too busy concentrating on exams, rather than finding the time volunteer.
Claire Miles, Managing Director for Customer Operations at British Gas, said: “Whilst good exam results can boost opportunities for young people, our survey highlights that employers are also looking for evidence of soft skills and personality before making a final decision on whom to hire.
“Most young people think that employers only care about their academic achievements – but that’s not the case. There’s a real opportunity for young people to boost their chances of employment through volunteering, which is a great indicator of soft skills.
“All of our engineering apprentices achieve their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or complete the British Gas Award Programme, during which they spend time volunteering in their community. We find that this helps our employees to relate better to our customers and improve service.”
Eight in ten employers said their company should invest more in offering volunteering opportunities to their employees, to create a positive impact on the company. A fifth of young people said they search for volunteering opportunities when searching for companies they would like to work for.
Pippa Morgan, Head of Education and Skills at the CBI, which represents business leaders, said: “The value that individuals with well-honed soft skills bring to a business is indisputable. As this research and our own indicates: business leaders are very clear about wanting to hire people with the right behaviours and attitude.
“It’s fantastic to see companies like British Gas highlighting the need for young adults to have soft skills, and should emphasise to all those starting out in their careers that companies are looking for more than just qualifications.”