June 15 ,2016 | by Helen Gould

SME employers value soft skills, according to survey

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SME employers are focusing less on age and academic achievement and are instead searching for candidates with soft skills gained through hands-on experience, according to eBay’s Soft Skills Index.

The index, which was published in partnership with YouGov, found that over half of SME employers value hands-on experience above anything else, whilst seven in ten recruiters believe that having soft skills is more important than having a degree.

Important

The survey also highlighted which areas SME employers prefer their candidates to be skilled in, with 61 per cent preferring those who have a good understanding of marketing and advertising, and 51 per cent believing that a candidate’s ability to use social media is important.

A significant number of SMEs favour digital skills, with over 55 per cent of recruiters preferring candidates to be skilled in this area, whilst 41 per cent find candidates with specialist digital skills such as coding appealing.

The research comes as one in three SMEs plan to increase their number of employees over the next year.

Versatile

Commenting on the research, eBay UK Vice President Tanya Lawler said: “The nature of business, especially online retail, is changing rapidly. Our business-savvy SMB community is on the look-out for versatile talent – regardless of age, background or gender – with the personable skills and life experience to help them develop and grow.”

She added that it is “good news” for the online retail space and new employees as recruitment picks up in 2016.

Helen Gould

Helen is a News Writer for LSBF who writes about education, careers, sustainable business, and women in business.

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