The dual objective of subsidized employment programs is to support employers and low-income job seekers. However, few studies of these programs have examined employer perspectives or reflected critically on the role of soft skills in relationships between employers and subsidized employees. This qualitative study examined employer perspectives on soft skills, drawing on the concept of fit from the person-in-environment perspective, as framed by personnel psychology, to interpret the findings. Employers emphasized the importance of motivation, self-presentation, and interpersonal skills. They described the effect of these characteristics and behaviors on workplace interactions, as they sought employees whose similarity offered a supplementary fit. The findings suggest recommendations for improving subsidized employment programs, as well as implications for social work education and research.
January 1, 2014