Most Valuable Social Skills Kenyan Employers Are Looking For- Report

In terms of a fast-paced work environment, the technical functioning of employees is an asset at the workplace.

Most Valuable Social Skills Kenyan Employers Are Looking For- Report
A man and woman working in an office. /FILE

With organisations implementing a return to physical office policy having implemented work-from-home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has released a survey indicating the most valuable social skills Kenyan companies seek.

According to the Skills Needs Survey Report 2023, 49.1 per cent of companies want effective written and oral communication, which they believe is the most lacking social skill among job applicants.

Critical thinking and teamwork were ranked second and third respectively at 41.7 per cent and 25.7 per cent.

"Social skills such as effective communication (49.1%), critical thinking (41.7%), teamwork (25.7%), and time management (23.4%) were identified as crucial by the surveyed enterprises," read the report in part.

Other skills identified include creativity (22.1%), problem-solving (21.1%) and conflict resolution (20.7%).

In terms of a fast-paced work environment, the technical functioning of employees is an asset at the workplace.

From the survey, FKE revealed that 36% of the respondent enterprises identified management skills and computer use proficiency as the most lacking social skills in job applicants. This was followed by mastery of foreign language (28%).

"In establishing the actions taken by organizations in order to reduce non-proficiency among the staff, the findings revealed that most of the organizations (73.1%) organized for training.

"Other actions included implementing performance assessment and benefits (45.3%), Changing /improving supervision (34.9%), carrying out new recruitments (25.5%) and changing work organization (12.1%)," added the report.

Other actions included carrying out appraisals, counselling, assigning duties daily and giving deadlines for different tasks,

Also included are coaching and mentorship, carrying out employment engagement surveys, staff transfers, on-the-job training, reshuffling of workers, promotions and career development and team building.

FKE referred to a 2019 research which highlighted ten suggested solutions that can help minimise the skills and training gaps for industries and other organizations to be successful.

The ten suggested solutions to address the causes of skill and training gaps and mismatch between available jobs and potential employees are increasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity in the STEM industry

Employers were also urged to be involved in curriculum development with college students recommended to improve their communication skills through extramural courses as well as effective training for new employees upon employment;

"Learning how to learn skills by students through professional development; Effective marketing of available jobs.

"Companies to invest in training and development of new and old employers; Effective and efficient estimation of STEM worker demand," added the report.

Also suggested was clarity on the skills employers need; as well as participation in externship and on-the-job training by educators.

Those who indicated that their organizations training their staff were asked to indicate the mode of the training their staff go through. From this, 56% of Kenyan companies encouraged on-the-job training, with 53.7% organizing internal courses, seminars or workshops.

44.3% organized external courses, seminars or workshops, 24.6% preferred self-directed studies and 15.7% exclusively participated in online courses administered by external facilitators

These trainings were offered in partnership with training institutions and other institutions offering training services as indicated by 58.9% of the companies sampled in the survey.

The survey, designed to capture the changing demands for skills, specifically targeted FKE members across diverse sectors, with a robust participation of 521 enterprises.

Job seekers queuing for interviews in Nairobi. /THE EAST AFRICAN