The importance of soft skills today and in the future Different industry and academic experts agree on the increasing importance of soft skills for youngsters today. The shift is most visible in today ’s job market. “ Today, employers make decisions based on a mix of hard and soft skills, whereas, in the past, the emphasis was put on purely hard skills as well as academic degrees,” explains Naomi Depaux, EHL Senior Admissions Manager. Likewise, schools have begun developing soft skills on an academic level. For if students can’t think critically, communicate, collaborate, and organize their schoolwork, they have little hope for success in the professional world. Soft skills young people have and the ones they need Most teenagers and young professionals have soft skills from the home and school environment, extra-curricular activities, and virtual communication tools that they favor. For example, many of today ’s youngsters are already good at communication and cultural awareness. They often have the capacity to build excellent rapport with others. However, our panel of experts agreed that youngsters must develop some soft skills further, such as: • Teamwork and collaboration • Communication skills • Empathy, manners, and business etiquette • Interaction with cultures and personalities • Creativity and critical thinking The best way for teens to develop soft skills Soft skills emerge in the home environment during a child’s formative years, but soft skills grow the fastest for teens in the school environment through peer interactions. At this age, they also develop easily online because teens appreciate online games and social media. Pre-university courses with a hospitality focus, such as EHL’s Junior Academy, are designed to develop key soft skills for future academic and professional success. These courses help young people to develop transferable soft skills with immediate benefits, such as: • Developing their people skills and leadership mindset • Boosting their CV to stand out on applications • Meeting like-minded young people from other countries • Networking and learning with industry experts • Opening their career horizons • Defining their ideal university program and location • Applying academic theory in a real-life context • Practicing verbal and non-verbal communication skills “ The great thing about summer courses is that they are short & sweet! You can identify your interests, make new friends, and benchmark yourself,” says Patrik Bruhlmann, Group CEO & Director of the Board, Pacific Healthcare Group of Companies. For young people seeking an international career in business, EHL’s Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management is particularly good for soft skills development. It balances real-world practice and theory in the industry with the development of analytical and critical-thinking skills to solve complex business challenges. And it offers a multicultural environment, where interacting and observing others’ reactions helps students to perfect key soft skills for an international workplace. Other ways to develop soft skills for young people Additionally, it is important for young people to develop their soft skills through volunteer work, extracurricular activities, work experience, internships, and other activities that push them out of their comfort zone. Hamid Banna, an EHL Alumnus of 1975 and hospitality consultant, underlines that extracurricular activities confront the young generation with real situations, to make them sensible to interactions with others, and teach them to adapt and act according to the situation with emotional intelligence. In conclusion, it ’s clear that developing soft skills offers multiple benefits for teenagers, including the advantage of clarifying their strengths and career choices and widening their opportunities. And soft skills are qualities that universities and employers will value even more in the future. Luckily, it ’s easy to convince teens to develop these skills with fun, inspiring options such as those offered at EHL Hospitality Business School. → Visit ehl.edu EHL HOSPITALITY BUSINESS SCHOOL Soft skills development for young people: The key to a successful future! In our fast-changing world, soft skills are undeniably crucial for teenagers and young professionals who want to establish the foundations of an impactful future. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn, the most important skill sets needed for jobs in 2025 and beyond are almost all soft skills. Here, industry and academic experts from EHL Hospitality Business School and others share their vision of soft skills and offer concrete advice on how to develop them in young people. Soft skills versus hard skills and business skills Soft skills are notoriously difficult to quantify. They resemble personality traits, yet they are learnable behaviors and attitudes. People develop soft skills through personal experience and interactions with others, and they are transferrable to any industry. On the other hand, hard skills or technical skills can be acquired at school or during job training. They are content-based and centered on the tools and techniques required to perform certain functions. “Soft skills could be described mainly as skills that a human can do that a computer cannot.” Rachel Quandalle, Career Advisor.