McDonald's: Soft skills must be formalised and recognised

Julia Belgutay

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Burger chain McDonald's has this morning called for a formal framework to help recognise and promote soft skills, including teamwork and time management.

According to a report, commissioned by McDonald’s UK and published today, people of all ages struggle to understand and develop the soft skills they need for their next career stage, despite research saying such skills can help increase lifetime earnings by almost 15 per cent.

The report also finds that the current lack of a standardised set of soft skills means many young people do not understand what is required to be work-ready.

The publication, which draws on consultation responses from the Association of Colleges, businesses, as well as bodies like CBI and the National Youth Agency, therefore calls for the establishment of a formal framework for the development and evaluation of soft skills for the benefit of schools, employers and employees. It also recommends soft skills should be embedded into the school curriculum, and links between business education and the youth sector should be improved.

Led by McDonald’s UK, a working group has now been established to carry the recommendations of the report forward, with members including the AoC, as well as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the CBI and Pearson. As one of its first priorities, it will seek to issue a tender to academic institutions to develop a user-friendly framework. 

Richard Forte, chief operating officer at McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe, said: “At McDonald’s, we think of soft skills as vital skills because communication, teamwork and decision-making, aren’t just important to our business, they’re vital to it.

"The recommendations coming out of the consultation show just how serious we are about tackling this issue and getting soft skills the recognition they so rightly deserve. Establishing the working group is the start of that journey but this isn’t a challenge that can be undertaken by businesses alone – the education sector, voluntary and youth groups must come together with industry to realise the potential of the hard value of soft skills.”

Research from Development Economics estimates soft skills can boost lifetime earnings by 14.2 per cent, and YouGov figures from September 2014 show 97 per cent of employers believe they are important to their business success.


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