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The value of soft skills being recognised by new McDonald's campaign

Research reveals that soft skills - such as communication, teamwork and time management - are worth £88bn to the UK economy

McDonald’s UK has launched a new campaign to drive recognition and promotion of soft skills – such as communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, and time and self-management – as, for the first time, research demonstrates the £88 billion contribution these skills make to the UK economy.  
Backed by entrepreneur James Caan CBE and leading organisations including the CBI, National Youth Agency, LearnDirect and Barclays, McDonald’s is calling for a whole-scale re-evaluation of the value of soft skills.

Through the campaign, McDonald’s and the coalition of supporters will invite businesses, policy experts, campaign groups, trade associations and academics to help create and share new ways to recognise and improve soft skills in the workplace. A three-month consultation opens today, and the findings and a series of long-term recommendations will be published later in 2015.

New economic research commissioned by McDonald’s to inform the campaign reveals that soft skills contribute £88 billion to the UK economy today. The report, produced by Development Economics, forecasts that this will increase to £109 billion during the next five years.
 
The research also highlights a series of early warning signs that employers, government and educators are not currently supporting soft skills sufficiently to realise their potential contribution. According to the economists, over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by a lack of soft skills by 20201   – an issue forecast to affect all sectors. Accommodation, food services, retail and healthcare industries are named as those most at risk.    

UK employers and workers echo this anxiety about the future. Whilst 97 per cent of employers believe soft skills are important to their current business success – and more than half rate them more highly than academic qualifications – three-quarters believe there is already a soft skills gap in the UK workforce.

Meanwhile, UK employees say they struggle to sell their soft skills. One in five would not feel confident describing their soft skills to an employer and more than half (54 per cent) have never included soft skills on their CV.

Jez Langhorn, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe, said: “Soft skills like communication and teamwork are incredibly important to our business because of the impact they can have on our customers’ experience. As integral as they are to the performance and progression of our employees, I know that we can do more to recognise their importance which is why we are launching this campaign. In conjunction with James Caan, and a wide range of businesses and organisations I want to find ways in which we can better recognise soft skills and I’m calling on others to join us in re-evaluating and improving these skills.”

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