Australian Report Shows the Global Challenge of ‘Soft Skills’ | Burning Glass Technologies

A new Australian study using Burning Glass data provides more evidence of a worldwide shift in the nature of work—and reinforces the value of soft or baseline skills in the job market.

Salary premium for soft skills in Australia

The report calculates the Australian salary premium for “soft skills.” Source: FYA

The New Basics” report, commissioned by the Foundation for Young Australians and prepared by AlphaBeta using our Labour Insight ANZ product, identifies a set of “enterprise skills” that young people need to get ahead in the marketplace. These include problem-solving, communications, teamwork, and digital literacy. And the demand for these skills in Australia is growing. Employers are 20% more likely to request enterprise skills than technical skills in job postings for young people, the report said. The proportion of job postings that called for critical thinking rose 158% over the past three years, while creativity rose 65% and presentation skills increased 25%.

We’ve found similar trends in our research in the United States. One in three skill requested in job postings is a “baseline skill” like writing, communications, or organizational skills. Employers seem to face real gaps in getting the skills they need, including the top 10 soft skills they request most often.

FYA called for a range of steps to address the challenge in Australia, including changes in curriculum, better-prepared teachers, new teaching methods, partnerships with employers, and greater use of real-time labor data. There’s no doubt in our mind that real-time data can not only identify opportunities but is already enabling workers, employers, and educators to seize them.