The job skills special

As ever, we’re keeping a close eye on the job skills news. It’s vital that everyone involved in the recruitment process (candidates, clients and consultants included!) remains aware of the nation’s changing skills needs. Information that becomes all the more vital as the UK skills shortage becomes all the more prolonged…

What exactly is the skills shortage?

Quite simply, it’s the shortfall of suitable applicants for the number of job vacancies that the nation has to fill. It’s an issue that we’ve been exploring for more than 18 months.

The latest job skills news reveals that…

  1. Most businesses (79%) plan to increase their higher-skilled roles within the coming years. However, the majority of employers (66%) worry that they will struggle to find suitably matched employees.
  2. A Barclays LifeSkills survey shows that almost 60% of UK adults ‘lack core transferable’ job skills, including leadership and creativity. Differences are reported among demographic groups.
  3. 2/5 of people are being recruited for roles before discovering they do not have the right ‘soft skills’ required. More than 1/2 of workers have left a role on realising their personality or work style does not suit the position.
  4. SMEs face the worst of the skills shortage, with underperforming recruits costing an annual average of £39,500.
  5. Even when sources disagree on job vacancy figures, they agree upon these ongoing recruitment issues!

What are the solutions?

According to the reports, changes must be made at a formal education level. All future workers should be equipped with adequate skills for the modern workplace.

Alongside this, employers need to provide continued training opportunities. Therefore enabling existing workers to upskill on the job; aiding staff retention and business growth.

Businesses must also review their recruitment approach to ensure…

  • They are managing to attract enough applicants.
  • Employers also know how to best identify suitable skill-sets.
  • The job offering is additionally appealing enough to compete with those of other (perhaps better known) organisations.
  • Decision-making processes are swift enough to retain interested applicants.
  • While ample onboarding is provided to welcome new staff members.
  • Plus the list really does go on..!

What should you do now?

  • Employers & employees: keep reading articles such as these! We regularly share posts discussing the most sought-after job skills – useful insights whether you’re the one looking to fill these or the businesses competing to attract them! Re-read our skills shortage advice post.
  • Especially for job-seekers: do all that you can to ensure that you’re searching for the right jobs for you and you’re doing everything possible to highlight your skills. Follow these tips as closely as you can.
  • Especially for businesses: start working through that bulleted list above! Your Recruitment Consultant is the perfect person to call on to support you with this. For tailored recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.


Skills of the future: do you have them?

Do you have the career skills of the future? For that matter, do you have the skills you need right now?

70% of employees lack both, according to research by Gartner.

In a report published by Personnel Today, concerns primarily centre around an inability to keep up with the pace of digital development. Development considered essential for continued business progression.

The article does not explore specific skills (we discuss these below!). Yet businesses are more generally advised to ‘determine the skills their market and clients are calling for’ before finding ways to meet these.

They also break the process down into three core stages.

Skills of the future: what job-seekers should look to develop

Prefer to dig into some specifics?

  • These are the 9 most important career skills of the future, according to the World Economic Forum. This link is also an essential read for anyone considering how to better promote their existing skills.
  • Empathy has separately been singled out as a valuable asset. In fact, we’re apparently already living through the ‘Empathy Economy’, a business era characterised by the strength of this uniquely human trait.
  • You may recall that the ability to continually ‘reskill’ could also take you from 3 possible career paths to your choice of 48.

Companies are already paying more to source skilled employees

We recently shared a brief mention of this feature when discussing the REC’s September jobs report. However, it feels fitting to raise this point again.

With unemployment levels notably low, businesses are struggling to find the right candidates to fill their vacancies. This is pushing companies to increase their starting salaries to attract candidates with the appropriate skill-set.

If you’re a job-seeker struggling to find work, are you doing enough to highlight the skills that you have? Are you even applying to the right people in the first place? You may benefit from a more focused strategy.

Businesses have so many opportunities to create an appealing staff attraction approach. For some expert employee attraction and recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130.



Overqualified at work? You’re not alone!

Are you overqualified for your current job? A government survey suggests that this statement may now apply to 2.5 million UK employees. That’s 8.7% of the national workforce!

The latest ‘UK Employer Skills Survey’ finds…

Which skills remain most required?

  • ‘Task prioritisation’ and ‘time management’ abilities remain most-in demand, contributing towards 59% of skills gaps, according to People Management.
  • The need for advanced or specialist IT abilities has fallen by 8% points between 2015 and 2017.
  • It’s reported that 76% of skills gap needs are ‘transient’ and will be resolved over longer-term employment and the completion of staff training.
  • That said, poor motivation (32%), lack of performance improvement (31%) and lack of required training (25%) are each contributing factors.

A note for your CV…

  • Take advantage of these new findings and ensure to demonstrate your prioritisation and time management abilities on your CV. ‘Demonstrate’ is the key word here! Don’t just write these skills down as filler words. Instead, find fitting examples to show how you’ve utilised these abilities within your recent roles. Illustrate this with stats, achievements and/or results wherever possible.

A word for businesses on managing overqualified employees:

  • These research findings call to mind an earlier post on the reasons that so many workers ‘shut off their minds’ in order to survive each working week. Noticed any team members that not being used to their full potential? Watch out for these people – and then find ways to challenge them with new projects and responsibilities.
  • If you’re unsure how their skills could be utilised, why not ask? These employees are such a great asset to your future business growth. Learning to spot talent opportunities within your existing team is also another simple way to enhance your staff retention rates.


The empathy economy

How increasing your empathy could better prepare you for the future of work. Plus how to actually increase yours!

Why your empathy levels need a boost!

You may recognise today’s title from our piece on why customer service will be the most in-demand job role in future.

It’s worth re-reading this post to understand why empathy has become all the more vital. However, at the simplest level, this looks set to be the defining skill of the future.

Of course, an empathetic nature also enhances our daily interactions at every level. So it never harms to work on things.

If you’re a manager or current (/hopeful!) business leader, The World Economic Forum has a couple of articles we highly recommend:

For the rest of us, let’s take a look at…

How to boost your empathy levels

According to some of the world’s leading business experts…

  1. Pay more attention to your own feelings. This might sound like strange advice when we’re trying to increase our understanding of other people’s experiences. However, this starts with an ability to recognise different emotions and the way they affect our bodies.
  2. Listen more. Many people say they’re great at listening, yet often it’s the case that they’re not actively listening. In doing the latter, you’re giving your full focus to what the speaker is saying. Not what you need to say or do next! This can be challenging in a multi-tasking world, so it takes practise.
  3. Pause before you criticise. Take a few moments to imagine you are the person that you’re about to criticise; when you were last in their situation and what they may be feeling.
  4. Beware of ‘horns and halos’. This is the tendency to assign someone a wholly positive or negative judgement as a result of your first impression. The reality tends to lie in-between. Again, place yourself in that person’s shoes.
  5. Be more curious. Ask questions, make an effort to find out about others.
  6. Watch more. Pay more attention to people’s expressions and interactions. Look at the person you’re interacting with, rather than a screen!
  7. Open up. Share your thoughts and feelings, even the tougher ones! This invites others to do the same in return.
  8. Train yourself. If you’d like some further DIY empathy training, follow Mind Tools’ ‘Empathy at Work’ guide.


Your future job – and reasons to feel optimistic about it!

Have you ever wondered what your future job looks like? Or, for that matter, what would happen if automation takes your current job away from you? 

We return for the second in this week’s look at the future of work. Thankfully, there’s more good news ahead!

“Creating a future of jobs for all.” – The WEF

The above quote comes from the World Economic Forum (the WEF) – an independent, not-for-profit business founded in Switzerland.

One vital aspect of their work involves preparing for the technological advances that are so rapidly shaping our global world. This includes helping businesses and communities get ready for dramatic changes in our working lives. Job roles included!

One primary research focus is that of making sure there are enough job opportunities for everyone in this new technological age.

Is this really possible?

Well, growth is already predicted for a number of core industries. This includes the likes of IT, health and education.

However, beyond this, the WEF says: “the future of work is in our hands. We can shape how technology enhances opportunities for work and fulfilment – not destroys them”.

The primary messages we take away from their post on the ‘6 reasons to be optimistic about the future of work‘:

  • It’s not going to be easy. People and businesses will struggle with ‘losing the comfort of the familiar’. However, there truly are opportunities ahead.
  • They’ve been busy exploring ‘good-fit’ new career options; taking the average US worker as an example. I.e. asking which other jobs could you do if you lose yours to technology/other changing needs. And the answer? The average person will have around 48 possible new career paths.
  • There’s one word that we’ll all need to get familiar with…reskilling. The WEF says a ‘reskilling revolution will be needed’ and points to the fact that few economies currently have proper structures in place for adult learning of this nature.
  • The future returns could be fantastic for workers and business leaders. Yet only if investments in reskilling are made. Again, using US workers as an example, the WEF projects a pay rise of $15,000 a year (over £10.5K) for those that do so.
  • As we’ve said, businesses are also set to benefit. These benefits will largely come from an increase in talent alongside a closing skills gap. (And you know how much the Skills Shortage has dominated the UK recruiting landscape over the past year or so!)

What’s more…

  • A focus on reskilling could present an opportunity to close the gender pay gap by allowing men and women equal training opportunities. Sadly, when considering those at most risk of jobs displacement, women currently have half the number of alternative job opportunities.
  • Businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders will have to come together to make the positive changes happen. If we continue as is, some workers could see themselves with just 3 career opportunities to select from. However, if 70% of workers are retrained into new fields, over 95% of employees could actually have a better and higher paid job in future.

Your action plan:

If there’s one thing you can do right now, it’s to start really thinking in terms of skills. Including those that you already have and those that you may need to work on.

We recommend keeping an evolving list of your core skills and experience at all times. That’s whether or not you’re currently looking for work.

The second part is harder to achieve when you don’t know the exact skills you will need to tap into in future. However, you can keep on top of the latest thoughts regarding this – including those links shared in our ‘Further reading’ section below. While this isn’t to say you need to sign yourself up to a brand new course just yet, there may be ways to further your skills in these areas within your current field.

What’s more, just being open to the fact you may need to reskill in future will make the whole process a lot less daunting if and when it comes around.

As for employers, it’s never too soon to get your management team discussing these important topics.  Whether that’s considering a broader skills-matching focus when recruiting, or in setting aside more budget for staff training and reskilling. Again, there’s plenty of further reading below.

As ever, we’d be delighted to discuss your recruitment plans with you. Call the office today on 01225 313130.


Further reading…