CEO Calls For More Soft Skills Exposure, Training Programmes

If employment figures are to continue to improve in the Caribbean region, more of an effort must be made to equip residents with soft skills, says Joseph Boll, Caribbean Employment Services Inc. CEO.

His firm, Caribbean Employment, is a market-leading digital talent acquisition service based in Barbados but operational throughout the Caribbean. It aims to connect the region’s top talent with hiring managers and HR professionals not just in the region but the world over, in an effort to help Caribbean jobseekers match with their best employment prospects.

“Employers who say they struggle to hire in the Caribbean usually say they face two challenges,” says Boll. “Either it’s technical skills, where they say there is not a big enough pool of candidates in their given field — and this is more common for specialized fields like IT or technology — or they say it’s because candidates don’t seem to possess enough soft skills.”

In this regard, the CEO said he would like to see more programmes or initiatives aimed at giving candidates exposure to the soft skills they need to boost their employability. He noted that even if a jobseeker may not have a lot of experience, employers will often consider someone who has transferable soft skills that can be used.

“Based on our experience, the soft skills employers are looking for the most in the Caribbean are critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and socio-emotional skills, such as communication, conflict resolution and empathy,” Boll says.

He noted that many Caribbean countries have introduced technical training courses and programmes that are designed to equip future candidates with the hard skills required for high-paying, highly-skilled jobs. However, he also emphasized the need to incorporate soft skills exposure or training into that if those candidates are to truly be successful.

“These are the kinds of skills that can make someone highly employable in many different fields, but it’s the kind of skill that is also often not taught in a traditional classroom,” the CEO pointed out. If, after several months of training, a young Caribbean individual comes out knowing how to code or with all of this advanced technology training, but they still aren’t able to effectively be a team player or apply what they’ve learned to solve problems, that training programme may have not adequately prepared them to enter the job market and be successful in any career they choose.”

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