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What Employers Really Want: Reliability and Motivation

Express Employment Professionals Study Reveals the Skills Bosses Look For in Candidates

Dependability Matters More Than Experience

OKLAHOMA CITY, July 24, 2013 — In the third of a series of reports entitled, “America Employed,” Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest privately held staffing firm, today released findings that reveal which skills are most important for job seekers to possess.

The study reveals that soft skills - intangible qualities like reliability and motivation - are much more important than hard skills - quantifiable, demonstrable qualities like education and language skills. By a three-to-one margin, a survey of 264 Express franchises across the nation showed that soft skills matter more to employers than hard skills.

The most important soft skills include dependability/reliability, motivation, verbal communication, initiative and commitment. The most important hard skills include experience, technical ability and training.

“Resumes are important, but it’s not all about the resume,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Our research shows that what employers value most are the hardest things to put on paper, like reliability and teamwork. That’s why it’s so important for job-seekers to convey these qualities in every interaction with prospective employers.

“The result is that once hired, dependable, motivated people are the first to be promoted, while uncommitted workers are the first to be forgotten. Good workers make a good impression early and often,” Funk said.

The survey of Express Employment Professionals offices revealed that soft skills are deemed more important than hard skills, 69 percent to 31 percent.

Respondents were asked to select the most important soft skills. The following are the top 10 responses in order of importance:

1.   Dependability/reliability: 65%
2.   Motivation: 47%
3.   Communication (verbal) : 41%
4.   Initiative: 39%
5.   Commitment: 34%
6.   Team work: 33%
7.   Enthusiasm: 32%
8.   Flexibility/adaptability: 27%
9.   Problem solving: 27%
10. Listening: 18%

The study also asked respondents to select the most important hard skills. The following are their responses in order of importance:

1.  Experience: 95%
2.  Technical ability: 74%
3.  Training: 58%
4.  Education: 35%
5.  Certification: 18%
6.  Multilingual: 7%
7.  Research ability 6%


If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sherry Kast at (405) 717-5966.


About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 675 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.3 billion in temporary sales in 2012 and ranks as the largest privately held staffing agency in the United States. Its goal is to put a million people to work.