According to employees, employers underestimate these skills

Soft skills are those “soft skills” that we have heard a lot about in the world of work in recent years, without really knowing what they mean. Clearly, it is about all human, emotional, relational and behavioral qualities that a person has acquired thanks to his education or his experiences, personal and professional.

With the rise of telecommuting, accelerated by the Covid-19 epidemic, employers have had to adapt by hiring their future employees remotely. In this context, new qualities, which go beyond traditional diplomas, have become an integral part of candidates. But according to the latest Unédic barometer on the perception of unemployment and employment published in December, these soft skills still undervalued by recruiters in France.

Soft skills, mostly forgotten by recruiters

Indeed, the French have a very clear sense that soft skills are discredited by recruiters, who prefer hard skills, especially degrees and career skills. And for good reason: 56% of people surveyed by Unédic believe that emotional, social, interpersonal and personal qualities are not taken into account enough when making hiring decisions. As for the job seekers themselves, 59% condemn the predominance of diplomas and education in personnel selection criteria.

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However, even more than technical skills, soft skills are recognized by the French as transversal knowledge, which means that they can be useful in many professions: this allows for a certain versatility. Since the health crisis, professional trajectories are no longer linear, and aspirations for retraining or a new professional project can sometimes be very far from the initial path, in other words from hard-won skills.

This trend is all the more true because, according to the Unédic study, the ability to adapt (92%), teamwork (88%) and organizational skills (81%) are the first three qualities that respondents rated as the most useful in the context of professional retraining. The lack of certain technical skills should therefore not be a barrier to employment, as the vast majority of workers (84%) consider soft skills to be a key asset.

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Optimism of the French in terms of employment, half-baked

But it often seems like an easy choice for recruiters to focus on the hard skills first. It is logically easier to identify them since they are directly confirmed by the CV. However, this approach highlights the asymmetry between employers' search for an ideal profile and the reality of candidates available on the market, which is also highlighted in Apec study, Executive Recruitment Association, published in November. Recruiters must therefore relax their selection criteria, as their rigidity has become an outdated model.

This operation seems to be finding its limits today: still, according to the Unédic survey, we observe a clear stagnation among the French in the feeling of improvement in employment, although it has been steadily increasing since July 2020.

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Workers therefore fear unemployment a little more than in previous years: almost a quarter (24%) of them fear that they will experience a period of unemployment in the next two years, two points more than in previous years. 2022. We are therefore witnessing an erosion of confidence in the professional future: although the majority of employees (64%) are still optimistic (although the rate has fallen by three points in one year), a significant drop of seven points is observed among job seekers. Only 56% of them are confident about their professional future, highlighting the growing concern about the instability of the labor market. A situation that will not improve as unemployment started to rise again in the third quarter.

*Study conducted on a representative sample of residents of mainland France (3,012 persons) and jobseekers registered at the Pôle emploi (1,515 profiles) between August 29 and September 25, 2023.

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