Soft skills worth £88 billion to UK economy

19 January 2015

Soft skills contribute £88 billion to the UK economy, and this value is expected to rise significantly by 2020.

A study, carried out by research firm Development Economics on behalf of McDonald's UK, predicts this figure will increase to £109 billion over the next five years.

The survey also found 97 per cent of employers believe soft skills such as communication, teamwork and time management, are crucial to the success of their organisation. But more than half of job candidates said they do not include soft skills on their CV, and one in five is not confident explaining the soft skills they have. In addition, the report predicted by 2020 over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by a lack of soft skills. Industries expected to be most at risk are the accommodation, food services, retail and healthcare sectors.

The fast food chain has launched a campaign to encourage the promotion of soft skills, which has been backed by several leading organisations and big names. Backers include entrepreneur James Caan, charity the National Youth Agency, the CBI, LearnDirect and Barclays. The campaign will begin with a three-month consultation to discuss new methods for highlighting the value of soft skills and its initial findings and a series of long-term recommendations will be published later this year.

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, said: “Business is clear that developing the right attitudes and attributes in people - such as resilience, respect, enthusiasm and creativity - is just as important as academic or technical skills.”

In January recruiters told SM skills such as stakeholder engagement, relationship management and the ability to promote the profession, were highly sought after by employers in the current job market.

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