Key Soft Skills
Which skills are most important across sectors?
We identified a set of skills that receive strong support across the three sectors (from research evidence as well as stakeholders) that can be improved, and that are developmentally optimal as a focus for youth development programs.
Three skills — positive self-concept, self-control, and higher-order thinking skills — were among the top five skills supported across each of the three domains (workforce, violence prevention, and SRH). Communication and social skills received support across all three domains and were among the top five for two of the three domains. Additional skills are key for specific sectors. You can read more about our methodology here and here.
These skills interact with each other and are mutually reinforcing in the achievement of positive outcomes. In other words, skills beget other skills. Youth who possess high levels of self-control are more likely to be confident in their ability to do something, fostering positive self-concept; they are also more likely to stop and think before acting, thereby practicing higher-order thinking.
The research identified the top skills within each of the sectors and for sector-specific domains. These include:
- Key Soft Skills for Youth Workforce Success
- Key Soft skills for Youth SRH
- Key Soft skills for Youth Violence Prevention
Linking the Prevention of Problem Behaviors and Positive Youth Development: Core Competencies for Guerra, N. G., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2008). Linking the prevention of problem behaviors and positive youth development: Core competencies for positive youth development and risk prevention. New directions for child and adolescent development, 2008(122), 1-17.
Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields
Key Soft Skills for Cross Sectoral Youth Outcomes