Millennials struggle with "soft skills"

File photo. (WLUK)
File photo. (WLUK)

What exactly are soft skills? Some examples are communicating well, writing, speaking and thinking critically.

"It's the soft skills that really make people successful and engage with other people and help them build relationships," explained Sharon Hulce, CEO Employment Resource Group in Appleton, which helps businesses find employees.

Hulce told FOX 11, unfortunately, the millennial generation, those roughly 30 or younger, is not good with soft skills. She blames the constant use of technology.

"Not only are they not learning how to communicate one-on-one or even in a group setting with people, but they're also not even spelling correctly. They're using their own language," Hulce explained.

A study by Bentley University, a business university near Boston, found 60 percent of employers want their future employees to learn better soft skills in college.

At UW-Oshkosh, they say they have a new general education program to try to do that.

"Some of the areas employers are really seeking like the writing and speaking competencies, we get after in the very first year," explained Lori Carrell, the director of the University Studies Program.

Carrell told us employers generally are more interested in someone's soft skills than their college major. She said the University Studies Program matches mentors with students to learn those skills early, if they didn't learn them before college. Then they put what they've learned into an electronic portfolio.

"Be able to show employers, 'Here's what I can do with writing, here's what I can do with information literacy,’" Carrell explained.

A study by Intel Labs indicated that 61 percent of young adults consider the technology dehumanizing, but one UW-Oshkosh sophomore Ben Steffen said he believes his generation can learn without sacrificing the technology.

"Maybe we should go back to the basics a little but, while incorporating the newer stuff," said Steffen.

One possible tradeoff, Hulce said she believes current students and young workers are better at communicating across cultures and countries than earlier generations.