20 Feb 2016

What are Soft Skills?

What keeps you returning to the same coffee shop in the mornings? Is it the quality of their Colombian ground? Or the fact that the barista smiles and greets you, remembers you prefer skimmed milk, sometimes even gives you a freebie?

The skills that create client loyalty are the same across the service, hospitality, retail, business and finance sectors, and in both luxury and value markets, but their importance can be underestimated. A 2015 report carried out on behalf of McDonald’s placed the value of soft skills to the UK economy at £88 billion, highlighting their importance particularly within ‘financial and business services, retailing and public services, including health and education'.

Soft skills are crucial in management, too: no matter your level of knowledge and technical abilities, if you find it hard to motivate others and resolve complex issues with diplomacy and tact, significant career progression may elude you. ComputerWeekly reported recently on the finding that IT firms such as Apple and Microsoft consider interpersonal, time management and teamwork skills to be just as important in new recruits as specific technical competencies.

The same McDonald’s report anticipated the consequences if the soft skills deficit is not addressed, estimating that employers will struggle to recruit staff and that ‘over half a million UK workers’ will be held back in their careers. The resulting annual loss of production is expected to amount to just under £8.4 billion by 2020.

The Debrett’s Academy focuses on teaching and developing these all-important skills, and works with a range of clients, from school-age students interviewing for university, to graduates looking for their first role, right through to executive and senior management level. The wide-ranging experience and expertise of our tutors supports training in such areas as interview techniques, interpersonal skills, social graces, confidence, presentation delivery, executive impact and professional dress.

For more information on Debrett’s courses, email OllyWalker@debretts.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 7290 5950.

Lucy Hume, Editorial and Production Manager at Debrett's

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