Fostering Essential Soft Skills for an AI-Driven World in Higher Education Through Digital Credentials

    Discover how higher education leverages digital credentials to equip students with essential soft skills for an AI-driven future, addressing job market demands effectively.
    user-circle Credly Team
    hourglass-01 5 min read
    Students assessing their digital credentials for soft skills

    In today's ever-evolving job market, employers increasingly seek candidates equipped with more than just course-based knowledge; they demand essential soft skills too. According to ‘‘Pearson Skills Outlook: Power Skills’’, the top five most sought-after skills (now and in the short-term future) are all human skills.

    Moreover, as the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation continues to rise, the demand for these soft skills is growing. While AI can efficiently perform tasks that require technical skills, it cannot replace soft skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and creativity. A survey by the Pew Research Center emphasizes that the most valuable work skills will be uniquely 'human' skills rather than easily automated ones.

    The potential impact of AI on the job market is expected to be significant. Goldman Sachs says generative AI could impact up to 300 million jobs, while Deloitte predicts soft skill-intensive occupations will dominate two-thirds of all jobs by 2030, compared to half in 2000.

    Higher education institutions play a crucial role in equipping students for the AI-driven future in this rapidly changing landscape. By leveraging digital credentials, they can provide tangible evidence of a student's soft skills and competencies, making them more appealing to potential employers.

    Preparing students for an AI-driven future

    Many employers report that candidates lack the necessary business-critical soft skills as they are not always taught in higher education. This fact is reinforced by the Society for Human Resource Management when 51% of its members said education systems have done little or nothing to help address the skills shortage.

    Therefore, educators must demonstrate the value of their courses and support their students in developing and demonstrating their soft skills as they enter the workforce.

    Yet many are behind the curve. Many education institutions still use traditional paper-based and PDF certificates that fall short of student needs. As they lack timeliness, they make it difficult for students to present any new soft skills they have developed during their study to potential employers. And they don’t provide a comprehensive overview of an individual's skill level and practical application of knowledge.

    To address these challenges, digital credentials offer a transformative solution.

    What are digital credentials?

    A digital credential is a tangible representation of a student’s competencies and skills. Every credential contains verifiable data that confirms what, where, and how someone earned that credential. They complement paper-based certificates, but because they’re online, they’re data-rich. And with the right platform, management, and integration, it’s easy for higher education institutions to create, issue and share digital credentials with their students.

    Rich metadata in digital credentials provides detailed information about the skills and competencies represented, making it easier for employers to verify the credibility and understand the true value of the student's qualification. Digital badges allow students to demonstrate their achievements and build a portfolio of digital badges that align with employers’ needs, helping them to stand out.

    Students are behind the introduction of digital credentials. In a recent study by Tampere University, 95% of learners expressed either moderate or high intrinsic value of digital credentials. "Our findings suggest that learners believe that digital credentials have high long-term value, and they would like to use them in the future."

    Supporting career readiness

    Digital credentials offer three key ways to validate students' soft skills and support their career readiness:

    1. Verifiable Records: Higher education institutions can create a digital trail of evidence showcasing students' proficiency by issuing digital badges or certificates for specific soft skills. Employers can access the issuer's platform or database to verify the authenticity of these credentials, instilling confidence in the claimed soft skills.

    2. Standardized Assessment and Criteria: Digital credentials establish clear expectations and rubrics for evaluating soft skills. This standardization enhances the credibility and comparability of the soft skills demonstrated by students, making it easier for employers to evaluate and understand their proficiency levels.

    3. Portability and Shareability: Digital credentials are portable and shareable, enabling students to showcase their soft skills beyond the institution. Including digital badges in online profiles, resumes, or professional networking platforms allows potential employers to assess their soft skills conveniently. The ability to share credentials electronically enhances accessibility for employers, reducing the reliance on traditional paper-based certificates.

    Innovating Education with Digital Credentials

    The new AI-driven world demands a comprehensive skill set combining technical expertise and essential soft skills. By adopting digital credentials, higher education institutions can bridge the gap between education and employment, giving students a competitive edge in the job market.

    The benefits of digital credentials are far-reaching. By offering a digital credential program, not only sets you apart but also shows it is more closely aligned with the skills employers now demand while understanding and responding to student needs.

    To learn how Acclaim's digital credentials can benefit your institution and learners, download our latest whitepaper, "Meeting the Demands of the Future Workforce: Soft Skills Training for the AI Revolution" below.

    Access whitepaper

    Read More

    Why smart employers are doubling down on training, educational benefits

    Pervasive skills gaps mean that employers can’t count on employees to walk in the door with...
    Learn more

    Strategies to Meet the Growing Demand for Overseas Students

    The demand for international education is increasing as students actively seek opportunities...
    Learn more

    From Campus to Career: How to Better Prepare Students for the Future of Work

    Stepping into the professional world is difficult for many newly qualified graduates. An Early...
    Learn more

    VIDEO: What Are Digital Credentials?

    Learn more

    How To Transform Business Education with Alternative Credentials and Employer Partnerships

    With the cost of student loans increasing and no guarantee of return on investment, there is a...
    Learn more

    The Power of Digital Credentials in Career Development: A Comparison with Traditional Certifications

    In today's fast-evolving job market, employers and employees acknowledge the importance of...
    Learn more

    Ready to Get Started with Credly’s Acclaim platform?