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‘Soft Skills’ is a composite expression, a concept, and each of these two words explains a defining aspect of this concept. The word “skill” highlights the practical function. It has a broad meaning, and describes a particular ability to complete tasks ranging from easier ones like “learning how to kick a ball” to harder ones like “learning how to be creative." In this specific instance, the word “skill” has to be interpreted as the ability to master tough actions.
It is assumed that it was U S Military which first coined the term Soft Skill in the 60’s decade. The Term Soft Skills refers to any skill that does not employ the use of any kind of tools or machinery.
Soft Skills are also referred as social intelligence. As per prominent psychologists, social intelligence (soft skills) rather than qualitative intelligence (hard skills), defines us. Almost all service industry companies such as BFSI, Hospitality, Aviation, Telecommunication, Retailing and Education look forward to excellent soft skills of their employees.
Soft skills are a group of positive habits determine one's relationships in a social environment. These skills generally include communication and language skills, hygiene habits and etiquette, emotional strength, social and environmental responsibility, time management, team work and leadership.
The importance of soft skills lies in the fact that they are not restricted to a specific field. Soft skills make people flexible in a world where people often are rigid or keep changing their stand. That is why customer focussed companies a large amount in developing soft skills of their employees. While dealing with a customer, competitor, peer or superior, soft skills often play a decisive role.
As a matter of fact, there is a substantial lack of soft skills in the job market. Employers struggle to find leaders and workers able to keep up with the evolving job market. The problem is not limited to freshers alone, but also for the seasoned employees. In almost every respectable corporate, soft skills are placed higher than that of hard skills.
In employment sectors that have seen rapid growth, employers have stated that newly graduated employees possess a skill gap. This skill gap resides between soft and hard skills, these newly graduated employees possess the hard skills required and expected, but are lacking the soft skills.
Measuring Soft Skills:
Soft skills can be meaningfully measured within cultural and linguistic boundaries. Such measures include a combination of methods that include self-reported personality, behavioural surveys and objective psychological assessments. Also, Soft Skills are not acquired knowledge, more often than not, these are a result of Common Sense and can be acquired without a trainer.
Following is a "top ten" list of soft skills sought by employers in college students and in new workers.