November 2, 2023 

In a recent national survey of 1,000 employees and managers, an overwhelming 84% emphasized the importance of soft skills for prospective employees. These soft skills, they believe, should not only be possessed but also demonstrated during the hiring process.   

The Fort Worth Chamber recently hosted "Build Your Fort Worth: Education," presented by EECU. This event featured a panel conversation with workforce and business development professionals who discussed strategies for bridging the gap between local businesses, educational institutions, and homegrown talent. 

All five panelists underscored the critical significance of soft skills in today's job market. They encouraged attendees and industry representatives to explore collaborations with school districts to create pathways such as p-tech and internship opportunities. 

A comprehensive multi-year study examined over 51 million job postings, revealing a significant shift in job requirements between 2017 and 2019. Approximately 46% of "middle-skill" and 37% of "high-skill" occupations no longer demanded a bachelor's degree. Instead, job listings emphasized the need for technical and social skills.  

All five panelists concurred that they are transitioning towards skills-based job descriptions and hiring practices, moving away from degree-based criteria. They collectively emphasized that education should not be a requirement, advocating for a workforce driven by skills rather than academic qualifications. 

The panel discussion also addressed the evolving perspectives of Generation Z, which are increasingly leaning away from traditional degrees. 

Furthermore, the panelists highlighted a concerning lack of career awareness among graduates, signaling a need for improved career guidance and counseling. 

Two panelists shared their openness to rehiring former employees, affectionately referring to them as "boomerang employees," provided they left under amicable circumstances. 

In a broader context, the panelists recognized the growing role of AI in hiring practices. They intend to leverage AI primarily in areas where they face challenges in recruiting suitable candidates. Importantly, they stressed that while jobs might evolve, the human element remains indispensable, dispelling fears of job elimination due to automation. 

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