“Soft skills” and human resources naturally go together. The entire job is about dealing with people: their problems, their pay and benefits, their chances for advancement. And, not least of all, hiring the right people.
But soft or baseline skills can be a fuzzy concept. What skills do employers really have in mind for their HR staff? What, specifically, are they looking for? By examining more than 26 million job postings, Burning Glass Technologies was able to examine the specific skills that employers cite in job postings. The data provides a fascinating look at what employers think soft skills are necessary to succeed in human resources.
Based on our research, we would argue that “baseline skills” may be a better term than soft skills, because it covers all the skills needed to get someone in the door at a job. Most of these are traditional soft skills. Others might be considered hard skills, but are so basic that anyone entering the field should have them. For example, HR jobs–like many others–demand the ability to write well. But writing ability doesn’t count for much if an applicant can’t use Microsoft Word, the word processing program that dominates most American offices. Being detail-oriented is another skill always in demand, but in most offices, that means spreadsheets–and spreadsheets normally belong in the category of hard skills. The exact mix changes from industry to industry, but the point is that jobs do require a mix. The infographic below lays out the top 10 baseline skills in HR.
For a broader look at baseline skills in HR and other fields, read our report, The Human Factor: The Hard Time Employers Have Finding Soft Skills.
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