Many workers 'lack soft skills'
A campaign is being launched to promote communication and teamwork amid research warning that over half a million workers could be held back by a lack of so-called "soft" skills.
Restaurant giant McDonald's is leading the drive, saying soft skills should be "re-evaluated" because of the huge value of the contribution they make to the economy.
The firm has launched a three-month consultation with the aim of publishing a series of recommendations later in the year.
Research for McDonald's said employers, government and educators were not supporting soft skills enough.
The report warned that more than 500,000 UK workers will be "significantly" held back by 2020 by a lack of skills covering communication, time-keeping and teamworking, which can boost confidence.
It was estimated that soft skills contributed £88 billion to the economy, and will increase to £109 billion over the next five years.
Most employers believe soft skills are important to their business and over half rated them more highly than academic qualifications.
Jez Langhorn, chief people officer at McDonald's UK & Northern Europe, said: "Soft skills like communication and teamwork are incredibly important to our business because of the impact they can have on our customers' experience. As integral as they are to the performance and progression of our employees, I know that we can do more to recognise their importance which is why we are launching this campaign."
Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, commented: "Business is clear that developing the right attitudes and attributes in people - such as resilience, respect, enthusiasm and creativity - is just as important as academic or technical skills.
"In an ever more competitive jobs market it is such qualities that will give our young talent a head start and also allow existing employees to progress to higher skilled, better paid roles."
McDonald's, which employs around 100,000 staff in the UK, said its employees are regularly assessed on their soft skills as a "key consideration" for appraisal and promotion.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: "It's great to see McDonalds recognising the benefits of soft skills.
"This is something that I'm very passionate about and that's why this Government has taken crucial steps to work with business to create schemes to build these skills.
"Young people tell me just how important these sorts of skills are and through work experience and training through the Jobcentre Plus, people across the UK are getting the support they need thanks to the Government's long term economic plan."