Globalisation has produced the knowledge economy, which is characterised by a world of work that requires and is dependent on intellectual capital or knowledge workers. Knowledge workers differ from their predecessors who populated the world of work during the industrialisation era. Knowledge workers are highly educated, flexible, technology literate individuals who contribute to increased productivity through life-long learning and innovation, teamwork and the establishment of strong inter-personal networks.South Africa’s economy is increasingly becoming knowledge-oriented and therefore dependent on skilled labour and knowledge workers. However, a skills shortage is said to exist in many sectors, impeding stronger and more sustainable economic growth. Therefore, this research sought to determine whether the future knowledge economy labour market entrants, that is, South African undergraduates possess the characteristics required of knowledge workers, specifically with regard to soft skills.The research was conducted with the aid of a survey administered to undergraduate students in the relevant faculties. The results derived from the research show that South African undergraduates possess many of the soft skills required of knowledge workers. However, they have some shortcomings that are related to past socialisation structures. These can, in some instances be overcome through adequate education systems, particularly at tertiary level. Nonetheless, the root of the problem still lies at the primary and secondary education levels, which is where the overhaul is required.