A recent survey revealed a clear divide between the skills that graduates consider to be essential to entrepreneurship and those which employers regard as valuable.

Increasingly, business leaders are finding that their fresh-faced graduates are entering their respective industries without the essential commercial skills required to excel in their career and become an effective leader. As the managers of tomorrow, it is vital for employers to seek out ways to ensure their younger generation and graduate employees undergo appropriate training to ensure that commercial awareness is present across every activity and decision they make.

Over a third of employers note that graduates could be missing key entrepreneurial skills, required to be successful within the business arena, which is contrasted by 79% of graduates who feel that they do in fact possess these skills. The key skills which employers feel are a critical component of an entrepreneurial mindset include solving problems, working together as a team and excellent communication skills, both verbally and written.

Soft skills training

Soft skills are the term used to describe attributes which often enhance personal communication skills and enable an individual to interact more harmoniously with others. As a manager and working within a team, soft skills are a commodity which should be valued as highly as formal education and qualifications.

Soft skill sets can transform a person from an adequate employee into a great employee with the prospect to become a leader within the business where their attitudes and skills align with the requirements of the company.

A collection of soft skills, which complement a technical ability and specialist knowledge can be the difference between an individuals capability of developing a repertoire with customers, clients and colleagues through offering empathy and understanding through emotional intelligence and an employee who lacks trustworthiness and approachability and may be unable to close a sale.


Networking is often a core component of a business in order to grow their client-base, sell more of their service or products and ensure that they are able to build brand awareness. Effective networking also allows those at a business to build a bank of candidates, who in the future, may become an asset to the business, either through an advisory sense or becoming part of the company permanently. Overall networking can help grow a business and build entrepreneurship skills.


In order to effectively network, an individual must be approachable and confident. Without a good attitude and the ability to present oneself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy figure in the industry, they may struggle to do this. Building rapport and trust with clients, suppliers, customers and any other stakeholders within your business is crucial to maintaining connections and growing these over time.

Furthermore, approachability is a vital component of being a leader. A leader who merely dictates is not a leader but instead a ‘ruler’. Employees and colleagues are more likely to value relationships they have with those who are approachable as they will often develop a more familiar way of working, respect the individuals and establish trust in their opinion and advice.


From conflict resolution to closing a sale, persuasiveness can prove a valuable skill across a number of business activities. An adept negotiator may be able to exert an influence that will result in the optimum outcome and could lead to cost savings, better contracts and obtaining new clients. Persuasiveness can also support building strong interpersonal skills which allow a leader to more effectively communicate with the individuals they work with, help solve internal disputes and build a better team on open communication, honesty and trust.

Graduates and commercial skills training

With graduates failing to present the commercial skill sets which are expected by the majority of employers, it is important to implement ongoing commercial awareness training which aims to bridge these skills gaps.

With Millennial and Gen Z generations so keen to learn new skills and improve their business capabilities, it is likely that graduates and younger employees will welcome to opportunity to undertake commercial awareness training.