What employers want – key candidate skills

What do employers want to see in their future team members and how can you demonstrate these abilities?

It’s always helpful to remember that (for the most successful companies!) the recruitment process is about far more than checking experience boxes. Business leaders are also looking for candidates that possess the appropriate skills to enhance their performance and complement the rest of the team.

One study has uncovered six such skills that employers want to see in their recruits:

  1. Adaptability (71.5%)
  2. ‘Resilience’ (57.5%)
  3. Being prepared to ‘upskill’ (39.7%)
  4. Being able to change (31.3%)
  5. Striking a ‘balance between work and personal life’ (29%)
  6. And networking skills (16.4%)

The first four skills all relate to the rapid pace of change now facing employers, as discussed on HR News.

This focus on change also cropped up in our recent post on the most wanted trainee skills – which is also relevant to non-trainees; especially those looking to enter a new sector!

How to demonstrate these skills:

As ever, you don’t want to treat these skills as CV or interview buzzwords so much as useful starting points.

Brainstorm examples that demonstrate how you’ve used these skills and what you’ve achieved as a result. Use these examples in your CV where relevant and practise discussing them in an interview scenario.

‘Relevant’ means you’re also tying your examples back to the skills and attributes required by each individual employer. I.e. you’re carefully reading individual job advertisements and specificiations and then tailoring your approach to match.

An interesting note on skill number three…

You’ll see that being prepared to upskill came in third place and this was discussed further in the HR News piece…

  • It suggests that 89.3% of employers are taking a ‘proactive approach’ to employee skills development for a variety of positive reasons. All sounds fantastic, yet this response is not supported by other research conducted on employees themselves.
  • In reality, only around 46% of professionals believe they are receiving adequate training. Advice for employees in this position can be found here.
  • Business owners may benefit from conducting some internal reviews to ensure that they’re not overestimating their skills development efforts. After all, this has long been a powerful staff retention tool.


Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here



Create more joy at work – for you & others

What are the top ways to create joy at work? Essential reading to support you and your colleagues…

Work and joy aren’t necessarily synonymous in your thoughts. Yet understanding what creates most happiness could help you to step closer to this notion. What’s more, knowing what makes most people feel happier could help you to become a better colleague – whether you’re managing employees or simply working alongside them.

It’s time to turn to a recent survey of UK professionals, which reveals that…

The greatest work joys include:

  1. Completing tasks without mistakes (52.6%)
  2. ‘Helping others’ (41.9%)
  3. Challenging your abilities with a tricky task (30.5%)
  4. Praise from your manager (27.7%)
  5. Compliments from colleagues (24.8%)
  6. Being awarded the ‘leading role’ on a project (18.8%)
  7. Leaving work each day! (17.3%)
  8. Arriving at work on time (15.3%)
  9. Taking your allocated breaks and heading home on time (5.4%)
  10. And not having too much work to do (3.8%)

Is this a good sign?

It’s promising that the most popular responses are those that pertain to doing a good job and being a great colleague, rather than escaping from work! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking forward to your personal time when you consider that most people are experiencing some work-life balance challenges.

If you do find yourself solely identifying with items 7, 9 and 10, it’s likely you’re not doing a job that aligns with your skills and interests. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the latest job opportunities.

Additionally, if you identify with a mix of these factors but really don’t get much opportunity to experience them, you may also want to do some research to see what else is out there.

How to bring more joy & be a better colleague

  • One of the benefits of this list is that it’s relatively simple to experiment with. While you may not be awarded any leading roles right now, you can more easily offer others your help; challenge yourself to really use your skills; offer genuine compliments to colleagues and make more of an effort to arrive and leave on time.
  • Of course, your colleagues are likely to appreciate those genuine compliments and your assistance. Yet they’ll also appreciate something you may not so readily do – accepting their offers of help.
  • And you never know, the more items you tick, the more likely you are to receive that praise from your manager and/or be assigned a more senior role or project.

Feeling happy at work yet ready for a new challenge? You’ll also want to head straight to our jobs page!



Forced into side hustles

Why do employees opt to work in so-called side hustles? Is it by choice or is there something else forcing their decisions?

If you read our recent salary news roundup, you’ll know that more than 1/2 of professionals are finding it difficult to meet their financial needs on a monthly basis.

So, it’s of little wonder that the majority of people who undertake side jobs are motivated by the chance to earn more money.

The top motivations for side hustles are:

  1. To increase income (59.9%)
  2. For personal enjoyment (14.1%)
  3. To ‘improve a hobby’ (10.4%)
  4. For better job security (9.4%)
  5. Or to enter a new career (6.3%)

The fact that 67.7% of respondents could be willing to stop their side jobs if their employer increased their salary adds further proof of their financial incentive.

That said, the remaining 1/3 of respondents intend to eventually turn their side gig into their career role.

Should employees and/or their employers be concerned?

There are important considerations for all parties…

  • As the Onrec post suggests, employees should have a good look at their employment contracts before embarking on any side jobs. Many businesses place restrictions on work that can be completed out of office hours.
  • Naturally, employers need to promote productivity and will be concerned if their team members turn up unreasonably tired or distracted. There’s also the chance of competitive overlaps and even public relation problems.
  • Yet, as the piece also mentions, businesses need to do more to attract and retain their employees; particularly in a time of continued skills shortage. Where possible, increased salaries can help professionals to better balance their work and home needs.
  • Business leaders can consult their recruitment agencies for more guidance on achieving competitive and attractive salary packages. We’re delighted to assist local employers with their recruitment enquiries – please call the office on 01225 313130 for more information.
  • Employees who feel overwhelmed with balancing extra work alongside their careers should consider whether their day job is the right role for them. If they’re not able to negotiate a salary increase, they may find their earning potential is greater in a new role. Regularly reviewing local job opportunities can help you to gauge your salary potential.


Top most wanted trainee skills

Which trainee skills are employers on the lookout for?

Today’s stat source quotes the ACCA, which means the original research was exploring the accounting sector. But don’t disappear just yet! Even if you’re not looking to work in the finance field (which happens to be a prominent local employment sector), you’ll see just how many of these skills apply to other industries. All of them, really!

Even if you’re not a trainee, you should be developing these abilities. Especially if you’re looking to take your experience into a new line of work.

The 10 most wanted trainee skills include:

  1. ‘Strategic decision making’ abilities
  2. ‘Industry-specific knowledge’
  3. Technical confidence
  4. Communication abilities
  5. Demonstrating initiative
  6. Being open to change
  7. Able to meet deadlines
  8. Commitment and loyalty
  9. An eagerness to improve
  10. Excellent customer service

The original feature tells you a little more about how each skill relates to the accounting profession. So, it’s well worth a read if this is your target industry.

How to show employers you have these abilities…

As ever, you need to find ways to convey the link between these job skills and your work experience and achievements. Your CV and/or cover letters are just the place to highlight your core abilities.

It’s not good enough to simply say you can make strategic decisions. Give an example of when you’ve done this and its benefits – even if your example comes from a non-employment role, such as a voluntary position or university project.

As for the industry-specific knowledge, this is where you have to show you’ve done your research. Let interviewers know what you’ve learned about their sector and its challenges and how you can help overcome them. Remember, even trainees play a vital role in helping organisations reach their goals.

Work through the rest of the list and consider which skills you truly possess and how you can prove them. If there are any gaps in your skill-set see what you can do to build them.

Top tip: don’t forget to tailor your CV to any specific vacancies you’re applying for. Watch out for key phrases in job ads and apply the above technique to your application.

Ready to send your CV? Here’s what to include in your cover email to a recruitment agency. You can also register your CV and/or apply for jobs directly via our website. 



The best work-life balance jobs (+ salary details!)

Exploring which jobs have the best work-life balance scores – and whether you’ll have to pick between your lifestyle or your salary…

As each Monday rolls around, you may find yourself wishing your weeks featured less work and more leisure. It’s a common wish and one that often appears to involve a level of financial sacrifice.

After all (and as Recruiting Times reports), this choice often entails a shorter working week and/or part-time hours, which often spells reduced pay.

Well, the latest research by Glassdoor has identified the 15 best roles for work-life balance, with 13 of these meeting or exceeding the national salary average.

The top 10 work-life balance jobs are…

Please note: the brackets indicate the standard national base salary for each role.

  1. Sales Development Representative (£27,000)
  2. Research fellow (£34,000)
  3. Customer Success Manager (£40,000)
  4. Marketing Assistant (£20,000)
  5. Engagement Manager (£48,000)
  6. Data Scientist (£46,000)
  7. Recruiter (£25,000)
  8. Copywriter (£29,000)
  9. Web Developer (£31,000)
  10. Audit Manager (£52,000)

The complete job list and associated ratings can be found in the original post.

Using these findings…

We agree with the positive sentiments expressed in the piece. These findings show that you don’t always have to sacrifice your salary level in order to achieve a more favourable working lifestyle.

What’s more, as Glassdoor suggests, the vast majority of the roles listed can be found in a variety of working sectors and industries.

As ever, we encourage you to do your research to gain more of an understanding of what’s realistic for you to achieve locally. Regularly visiting our jobs page will allow you to see the salaries offered in a variety of different roles.

Your career choices are also highly individual. One person’s ideal work-life balance may be quite different from another’s. Plus what suits you at one point in your career can change with time. Where possible, seek to understand what matters to you…and let your recruitment consultant know your job search priorities!



Future job skills & work portfolios for all

Do you possess the three most vital future job skills? Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role…

If the name Matthew Taylor sounds familiar, it’s because he authored the Taylor Review. This is the ‘independent review of modern working practices.’ It explores the effects of new ways of working on employees’ rights and responsibilities, alongside the ways in which the UK can prepare for the future world of work.

Your top 3 future job skills:

As individuals, one of the best ways we can prepare is to develop our transferrable job skills.  According to Matthew Taylor, who recently spoke at the CIPD Festival of Work, three of the skills we should all be focusing on include:

  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • And resilience

No specific priority order is specified. However, Taylor suggests that all three skills will remain valuable in 20 years’ time.

He also argues that by focusing on current and future job skills we can help protect those whose jobs are ‘most at risk’.

Other panelists raised the issue of retraining 10 million UK employees. This is the number of people that are predicted to require retraining as automation displaces current job roles.

So, it’s clear we all need to ensure we’re upskilling and reskilling ourselves…

As for why you may want to create a work portfolio:

Matthew Taylor is also quoted as saying “we will really have turned the dial on quality of work in a world where everybody has a portfolio.”

  • Taylor believes everyone should be able to present a formal account of their work – gained through employment and/or voluntary roles and similar. This will allow us all to promote our transferrable skills. Including our valuable future job skills!
  • What’s to stop you starting your portfolio now? Showcasing your primary achievements, successful projects and skills could really help you stand out from competitors in your next interview.
  • What’s more, keeping an ever-evolving list of skills and achievements is such a help when it comes to updating your CV.

Got an up-to-date CV at the ready? Please feel welcome to upload this here. You can also check out and apply for the latest jobs



Beyond 65: why will most people work at this age?

Do you expect to work beyond 65? Why this will be the case for most UK employees…

We now hear that 71% of people are on track to work after the age of 65. Furthermore, 2/5 of employees expect to still be working after they’ve turned 75.

This is according to research conducted by Canada Life Group, which also demonstrates a ‘long-term upwards trend’. In other words, the longer the research goes on, the more people predict they’ll be working in later life.

Why do so many employees think they’ll work beyond 65?

Some, but not all, of the top reasons comprise a clear financial component:

  1. An insufficient pension, requiring the employee to continue to earn an income (32%).
  2. Job enjoyment and an interest in ‘working for as long as possible’ (30%).
  3. No longer feeling able to ‘rely on a state pension/benefits’ (25%);
  4. Having saved for retirement but finding the ‘cost of living so high’ that additional income is required (21%);
  5. For other workplace benefits, such as social interaction (21%).

Considering the external financial factors:

Considering why finances bear such an impact…

  • 71% of respondents attribute this to the ‘rising cost of everyday necessities’
  • 63% say ‘rising inflation’ has chipped away at their savings
  • 62% blame a ‘poor return’ on savings
  • 58% put it down to ‘slow wage growth’
  • While 51% consider Brexit-related ‘economic uncertainty’ to be the cause.

The article includes recommendations for employers. Yet how can individuals benefit from this research?

Looking at reasons 2 and 5…

Let’s focus on the non-financial findings for now. It’s wonderful to hear that almost 1/3 of employees enjoy their job so much that they don’t want to retire. We recently shared the news that older employees report greater workplace wellbeing, so it wouldn’t be surprising if these feelings also increase with age.

What’s more, the social interaction element is also at the core of these findings. Workplace wellness is most affected by relationships with colleagues at every age.

So, perhaps the trick is learning how to get more out of your career over the longer-term. We say ‘career’ as we all know it’s rare to find one role that will take you straight through to retirement.

  1. Everything is pointing to the need to keep improving our transferrable job skills as the world of work rapidly transforms around us. Employers are already experiencing a skills shortage (struggling to find appropriately skilled employees for their existing vacancies), so the more you can do to refresh and update your abilities, the more valuable an employee you’ll be. Both now and in the future.
  2. Find ways to improve your workplace happiness – whether in your current or next role. Returning to the research on workplace wellness, it’s important that you understand your priorities. What makes you feel happiest and healthiest at work might differ from your colleagues and might change over time. It’s not always possible to tick every box, but taking steps towards this could increase your overall career enjoyment.
  3. Tap into local and industry experts. Going it alone in a job search can prove overwhelming; particularly if you know little about the employers recruiting in your field or area. A professional Recruitment Consultant is well-placed to advise on the roles that they’re recruiting for. Building a great long-term relationship with an agency also means that you can return for tailored advice at the next stage of your career.

Ready to find your next role? Take a look at our latest openings and/or upload your CV today



Improving your workplace wellness

Wish you felt happier at work but have no idea what contributes to your workplace wellness? New findings from The Myers-Briggs Company could help.

We recently discussed the fact workplace wellbeing appears to increase with age. The article cited a Myers-Briggs study that we’ll be returning to today. According to their findings…

Your workplace wellness is most affected by:

  1. Your relationships with colleagues (7.85/10)
  2. A sense of ‘meaning’ (7.69/10)
  3. Your workplace accomplishments (7.66/10)
  4. A feeling of engagement (7.43/10)
  5. Experiencing positive emotions (7.19/10)

There is also a strong relationship between high wellbeing and reporting the following:

  • High job satisfaction
  • A strong interest in your day-to-day job activities
  • Greater commitment to the company
  • ‘Citizenship behaviours’, including a willingness to assist your colleagues and/or reach business objectives
  • A lower likelihood to look for an alternative job.

You’ll find more information regarding the correlations with gender, occupation, and location here.

How to use these findings to your benefit:

If you’ve already been looking for alternative jobs for the past few weeks (or months!), you’ll know that there is something that’s encouraging you to look elsewhere.

Yet have you had the chance to identify what this is? It could simply be the case that you’re ready for a new challenge. Or it could be that one or more of the above factors are missing.

  • Take a look at both of the above lists. Which elements ring true to you? Then, taking a closer look at the first list, which elements matter most to you?
  • Perhaps it’s more important that you enjoy working with your colleagues and you’re interested in your work than to feel as if you’re achieving certain accomplishments. There are no wrong answers!

How to use your findings to support your job search:

  1. Watch out for key words on job advertisements and company websites. For example, if you’re looking for a sense of meaning, you could research your prospective responsibilities, company mission statements, and how the industry benefits communities or society as a whole.
  2. Share your priorities with your Recruitment Consultant and ask more about these elements in your interviews. For instance, if you’re guided by a sense of accomplishment, you could enquire about the sorts of projects you would work on, whether there is the chance to work to targets, etc.
  3. Add more depth to your applications and interviews. Use your personal motivations to engage prospective employers and stand out. For example, when asked why you applied for an opening, you could discuss your core motivations (e.g. being a part of a community-driven organisation) and what it was about the job spec and website that attracted you to the role (e.g. the fact you’d be supporting others, the community projects discussed, and/or a specific shared mission).

Why not get started on that research now by taking a look at the latest jobs!



How digital skills increase your salary

Are your digital skills as good as they should be? How increasing your technical abilities could make a great difference to your salary; regardless of your job role…

Before we discuss the salary side, it’s important to note that a lack of digital skills has long been an issue in the UK.

  • In fact, poor technical expertise is said to have ‘fuelled skills shortages‘ across the nation for the past 20 years.
  • 51% of today’s employers continue to experience unfilled vacancies as a result of this problem.
  • These unfilled vacancies also come at an annual cost of £63 billion.

It’s not just stereotypical tech roles that require digital skills…

  • Yourmoney.com reports that possessing the necessary skills could enhance your salary by an additional £12,500 per year.
  • You don’t need to be working directly within IT for this to be relevant to you. Currently, professionals working in ‘finance, insurance, and property’ display the greatest ‘digital literacy’.
  • However, there are many adults still struggling to undertake basic technical tasks. The Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index survey (which featured 1 million UK adults) finds that…
  • 21% of adults struggle to use search engines to find information;
  • 27% have difficulties in managing money online;
  • And 34% don’t have the basic knowledge to stay safe online.

Why are these numbers so high in such a digital era?

  • 8% of respondents haven’t even accessed the internet within the past three months – and 48% of this group is under the age of 60.
  • It appears personal finances are a factor, with 47% of those who’ve not accessed the internet recently falling into the ‘low income’ category.
  • Yet the absence of skill training is also significantly contributing to this issue. Most employees (63%) haven’t been offered any digital skills training by their employers.
  • This issue affects personnel of all levels. 54% of managerial employees are yet to receive technical skills training.

It may be time for employers to explore further training within their staff attraction and retention tools.

Meanwhile, employees looking to expand their abilities could consider free training courses. Lloyds Bank Academy has listed one such digital skills training programme.