Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Soft Skills and European Labour Market: Interviews with Finnish and Italian Managers

Kai Johannes Schleutker, Valeria Caggiano, Fabiana Coluzzi, Jose Luis Poza Luján


Recent reports have suggested that many employees in the labour market today lack essential soft skills. Yet, the specific relevance of these skills for particular job occupations is still to explore. We investigated perceptions of skill requirements and their development potential reflected against cultural impacts, using close interviews of 64 managers at firms in different fields of industries in Italy and Finland. Managers reported that, due to heightened competitive pressure, specific soft skills, particularly Work in team and flexibility to develop, are becoming increasingly important. The study indicates that the perceived significance of soft skills seems to vary according to the working environment and occupation. Furthermore, some soft skills seem to have a higher potential for development and thus suggested to be implemented in the university curricula. The paper concludes that a country characterized by working  environments conducive to the development of soft skills, must however promote research for the identification and relevance of the skills themselves.


Competencies; Curriculum design; Job occupation; Labour market; Soft skills

Full Text:



Andrews, J. & Highson, H. (2008). Graduate Employability, ‘Soft Skills’ versus ‘Hard Business Knowledge’: A European Study. Higher Education in Europe, 33(4), 411-422.

Atkins, M. J. (1999). Oven-ready and self-basting: taking stock of employability skills. Teaching in Higher Education, 4(2), 267-280.

Bennis, W. & O´Toole, J. (2005). How Business Schools lost their Way. Harvard Business Review, 3(2), 157-170.

Berdrow, I. & Evers, F.T. (2010). Bases of competence: an instrument for self and institutional assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Harvard Business School, 35(4), 419-434, 1-10.

Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M. (2006). Education for the knowledge age: Design-centered models of teaching and instruction. In: Alexander, P. & Winne, P. (eds.) Handbook of educational psychology, 695-713.

Blazquez, M. (2014). Skills based Profiling and Matching in PES. The European Commission Mutual Learning Programme for Public Employment Services.

EQF (2008) http://www.accreditedqualifications.org.uk/european-qualifications-framework-eqf.html

ESCO (2016) https://ec.europa.eu/esco/portal/home

European Parliament Council (2008). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (23 April 2008), Official Journal C 111.

Fang X.L. & Koh, S. (2005). Transition of knowledge/skills requirement for entry-level IT professionals: An exploratory study based on recruiters’ perception. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 46, 58–70.

Gilbert, R., Balatti, J., Turner, P. & Whitehouse, H. (2004). The generic skills debate in research high degrees. Higher Education Research and Development , 23, 375–88.

Grugulis, I. & Vincent, S. (2009). Whose skill is it anyway? Soft Skills and Polarization. Work, Employment and Society, 23(4): 597-615.

Heckman, J. & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard Evidence on Soft Skills. Labour Economics,Vol 19 (4), 451-464.

McClelland, D. (1973). Testing competence rather than intelligence. American Psychologist, 46: 1–14.

McMurtrey, M., Downey J. P., Zeltman S. & Friedman W. (2008). Critical skill sets of entry-level professionals: An empirical examination of perceptions from field personnel. Journal of Instructional Technology Education, 7, 101–19.

Mourshed, M., Patel, J. & Suder, K. (2014). Education to Employment: Getting Europe´s Youth into Work. McKinsey Centre for Government.

NACE 2010. Codes for branches.


Owen, E. (2001). What key skills do employers need? Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 25, 121–6.

Robins, K. & Webster, F. (1999). Times of Technoculture: From the Information Society to the Virtual Life. London, Routledge

Todd, P., McKeen, J. & Gallupe, R. (1995). The evolution of IS job skills: A content analysis of IS job skills from 1970–1990. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 19, 1–27.

Wikle, T. & Fagin, T. (2015) . Hard and Soft Skills in Preparing GIS Professionals: Comparing Perceptions of Employers and Educators, Transactions in GIS, 2015, 19(5), 641–652.

World Economic Forum (2016). The Future of Jobs. Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2019-019-schl

Copyright (©) 2019 Kai Johannes Schleutker, Valeria Caggiano, Fabiana Coluzzi – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Associate Executive Editor & Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi 

Referee List

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto