In today’s shifting labor market, soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication are key to job placement and success across all industries. However, these skills are difficult to define, identify, and measure. Employers need an extensive screening process to ascertain if applicants have these skills, and youth struggle to effectively signal their aptitude in soft skills within the constraints of a resume or interview.

Technological advances and a better understanding of employer requirements can drive the development of a standardized soft-skills accreditation framework. Such a framework would help reduce hiring costs, better match employees with specific jobs, increase the transparency and effectiveness of the job search process. The framework could even align educators with the skills that are required for the job market. In short, as the skills to succeed in the labor market evolve, the mechanisms we use to assess those skills will also need to adapt.

Case study: Employers need competency-based frameworks to assess soft skills across industries. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator has addressed this need by stitching together a battery of assessments that measure soft skills among high-performing employees. Harambee uses this framework to assess job seekers and match them with employers, allowing employers to find talent suited to their requirements.

At the same time, other organizations such as Mozilla are developing skills badges that can be collected and transferred across employers. With an evaluation system that standardizes soft skills assessment, these badges could then be integrated with career platforms such as LinkedIn, enabling employers to search candidates rapidly based on these soft skills.