TALKING ABOUT THEIR GENERATION

Graduate soft skills increase commercial impact in financial services

  • 69 percent of business leaders and HR directors in the financial services sector believe that graduates with soft skills will be increasingly important as globalization speeds up
  • 75 percent believe that employees with strong people skills deliver a bigger commercial impact
  • 72 percent believe that employees with strong people skills advance faster in the business

Latest data from global management consultancy Hay Group reveals that 69 percent of business leaders and HR directors in the financial services sector believe that graduates with soft skills will be increasingly important as globalization speeds up and organizational structures change. Some 75 percent believe that employees with strong people skills deliver a bigger commercial impact and 78 percent describe employees with an aptitude for people skills as ‘worth their weight in gold’.

In addition, data analysis of over 40,000 employees in different sectors worldwide from psychometric assessment specialist Talent Q, part of Hay Group, shows that graduates have as much potential as senior managers for self-awareness, self-control and teamwork and more potential for empathy. Despite very different education systems, levels of both general intelligence and potential for soft skills are very similar among graduates around the world.

While graduates in the financial services sector have the potential, 47 percent of the business leaders and HR directors surveyed by Hay Group in 2014 said they have the impression that entry-level graduates aren’t prepared for the working world. Some 41 percent said they struggle to find graduates with the soft skills they need and 66 percent of respondents said that keeping hold of graduates with those skills is a concern. This retention is crucial as 69 percent believe that a talent pool with strong people skills is essential to stay ahead in the marketplace

This lack of soft skills is also harming future careers as 81 percent of business leaders and HR directors believe graduates are held back by poor people skills and 72 percent claim that employees with strong people skills advance faster in the business.

The importance of developing graduate soft skills

Organizations need to objectively screen graduates to identify those with high potential. Once recruited, they should support graduates to quickly develop the emotional and social skills required, including self-awareness, self-control, influence, empathy and teamwork. This ensures graduates are prepared to negotiate the workplace and rapidly make an impact. It also guards against those who might otherwise struggle to get along. In fact, more than half of the graduates we surveyed said they’ve considered leaving their job because they “don’t fit in.”

Melody Moore, management consultant at Hay Group explains: “It is essential organizations are able to identify the right graduates. But once in, organizations need to support their graduates through their first four months – turning their young hires into team players and ensuring they make a positive impact within the business.

“Through the use of tools such as business apps, personality self-assessments and priority task planning, organizations will be more likely to retain graduates, and graduates will be more likely to meet or exceed business leaders’ expectations.”