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When I’m sick, I go to a doctor. If I have questions about my Taxes, I can go to an accountant.  Now, I assume that these sorts of folks got their hard skills through their education and their practice, but which one do I go to?  Who do I trust and depend on?

That’s where soft skills kick in.

Soft skills are a bit hard to nail down, but they’re often described as personality and emotional-intelligence-driven abilities that one can wield in their interactions with others.  With Millennial employment in full swing, chock-full of hard skills, we have to recognize that their relative inexperience in the business world could leave them lean on developing these interaction-base skills.

Yet, there are conflicting views on the importance of this, as shown by this 2014 Bently University study.  There was a noticeable gap between how Business Leaders and Millennials viewed certain traits.  Asked about the top three skills,  Business leaders listed:

  • Integrity (81%)
  • Professionalism (75%)
  • Positive Attitude (75%)

While comparatively, Millennials answered:

  • Integrity (63%)
  • Professionalism (69%)
  • Positive Attitude (68%)

Now closing this perspective gap might be one thing, but closing the soft skill gap may just be another.  Soft skills are generally nurtured and developed over time, and, frankly, become more necessary as employees find themselves scaling the corporate ladder.  No amount of Millennial tech-savviness can replace on-the-job and person-to-person interactions.

While there might be an ever-shifting back and forth between the value of hard skills and the strength of soft skills, IQ and EQ, its clear that both have value if you want to stay on top.