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.


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



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.



What’s most important right now?

What’s most important to you – your job and salary or your social and love life? 

It appears that most British employees select the former, prioritising their work and income ahead of their relationships.

Looking at the stats…

  • 54.7% of British people say their work life is most important right now.
  • 13.8% of respondents prioritise their social group.
  • And only 12.3% place their love life above all else.

Sadly, despite this focus, only 17.2% of employees are in their ‘dream job’. In fact, very few people have achieved their broader goals. You’ll find more stats regarding this here.

Really considering what’s most important…

A few questions come to mind as a result of these findings:

  • If you’re among the 54.7% that prioritise their work life, what is it that you’re specifically aiming to achieve? Is there a set role, salary or path that you’re working towards? Of course, it could be the case that you simply derive more enjoyment from your work life than other aspects of your lifestyle at this time.
  • Whatever your goals and priorities, consider whether your current (or most recent) job sets you on the right track to achieve them. There might be another job role that gets you closer to your aims.
  • Do you know what’s needed to get the job you want? Keep looking at job specs to see what employers are looking for. Also, let your Recruitment Consultant know your priorities and what you’re working towards.

Never forget the value of being a ‘well-rounded’ candidate. Employers are impressed by those that can bring additional skills to their team. The ability to forge effective relationships is a powerful attribute.

Where possible, work towards a blend of both – a positive work focus alongside a healthy social life. Your priorities will naturally shift at different points in your career; you’ll also need to find the right blend for your needs and personality.

Visit our jobs page to get a better idea of what local employers are looking for.



Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


The creative & innovative employee

How creative or innovative do you get to be on a daily basis? It’s important to remember that these words should apply to all industries and jobs, not just the artistic!

Creativity and innovation allow us all to work in new ways, formulate new ideas, and progress. However, employers and managers are overestimating just how much room they give their teams to use these skills.

Employees don’t feel able to be innovative at work…

  • 76% of business leaders believe they ’empower their employees to be innovative.’
  • However, only 34% of professionals feel encouraged in this way.
  • Yet 95% of businesses see innovation as imperative to their business growth and 91% of employees want the opportunity to be more innovative in their roles.
  • Employers are also misreading those tools that inspire creativity. They over-prioritise financial incentives and under-prioritise the role that ‘purpose’ plays in our work.
  • These findings (from Accenture, reported by HR Magazine) also reveal that staff specifically want appropriate skills development, flexible working opportunities, and a healthier work-life balance. Each aspect is believed to nurture greater innovation.

Tips for employers: each aspect features in our ‘7 Days of Employee Attraction Tips.’ See Days 3-5 for more advice. Make sure you’re also gathering genuine feedback from your employees. You don’t want to be among the managers who think they’re creating a culture that they’re not!

Good managers can spark creativity

It’s interesting to hear that managers can also increase creativity by using one essential skill – attentive listening.

  • In a separate international study, also shared by HR Magazine, employees expressed greater creativity when they felt listened to. Their workload was also of increased quality.
  • Conversely, distracted managers failed to promote such a response.
  • The article additionally highlights several flaws surrounding common brainstorming activities. Many people fear ridicule in response to sharing their ideas. Employees also worry about being the person that constantly offers up ideas in fear of annoying others.

There’s some sage advice for all managers; much of the focus needs to be paid to creating a more relaxed and informal culture that allows for ideas to be developed over time.

A brief note for stifled employees…

Where possible, share your ideas with your manager or a trusted colleague. You may be letting your fears get the better of you. Hopefully, your confidence will soon increase alongside your enjoyment of your role.

However, in instances where you’ve repeatedly tried and still feel stifled, or you simply fancy a change of scene, your skills may be better used elsewhere. You can read and apply for the latest jobs here.



Are you being upskilled at work?

Employers may be failing to ensure their team is regularly upskilled. And their employees may pay the price with their future career…

What is upskilling (and is upskilled even a word)?!

It might sound like just another marketing buzzword. However, ‘upskilling‘ has entered the Cambridge Dictionary and is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills”.

The latest findings from the City & Guilds Group (as reported by HR Review) reveal that:

  • 76% of professionals feel it is important to continually refresh their skill-set. Vitally, this is stated as ‘regardless of age or career position’.
  • 81% predict some degree of change in their job skills requirements within the next five years.
  • Yet only 46% of people are receiving adequate training support from their employer to ensure they’re prepared for these changing needs.
  • What’s more, 1/4 of respondents say they are not receiving enough feedback regarding their skills development priorities.
  • Certain employee groups are less likely to be upskilled. 48% of employees aged 55 and above did not receive any skills training in 2018.
  • 42% of all part-time workers additionally report the same.

Why aren’t workers being upskilled?

  • It appears employers are most concerned by their staff taking time out of their usual working day (42%).
  • The cost of training is also proving to be a barrier for employers (29%).
  • While few individuals feel they can fund training themselves outside of work (28%).

How can you ensure you’re being upskilled?

These are concerning stats and there are some great comments regarding the importance of prioritising learning and development at work. Yet what do you do if you’re the employee and your skills haven’t been refreshed for some time?

  1. Where possible, use appraisals as an opportunity to ask your employer how you can keep your skills relevant to the changing needs of the organisation. This will help plant a seed and could point you in the right direction, even if the company is unable to finance training at present.
  2. Do your own research. Explore articles and podcasts regarding the future of your industry. See if there are any common themes or predictions.
  3. Use your findings to research ways to upskill at home. These don’t always have to be costly. Again, podcasts, websites and books can teach you a lot.
  4.  Explore how a new job role could help you upskill. It may be that you’re ready for your next career step. Keep an extra close eye on any job descriptions that closely match your experience yet also offer the chance to learn something new.

You can always email your CV to one of our Recruitment Consultants (here’s what to include in your cover email). Alternatively, you’re welcome to upload your details via the site today. 



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 discussing 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.

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!
  • 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. Stop the scattergun approach (i.e. applying for anything and everything regardless of whether it suits your skills and experience!) and make sure your CV clearly matches each job specification you put yourself forward for. Read job adverts as closely as you can – they highlight the most essential skills for each individual role.
  • 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.