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. 



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.



Job acceptance regret

Have you ever experienced job acceptance regret? This sentiment is growing among professionals…

Our first news finding relates to Gen Z job-seekers (those with birth dates ranging ‘from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s’). However, you’ll see that the problem is far from exclusive to this age group.

New findings reveal that…

  • 40% of Gen Z candidates have experienced job acceptance regret – and would not ‘repeat their decision’ if offered another opportunity.
  • Alongside this, 51% cannot foresee an extensive career with their employer.
  • 1/3 of candidates actually plan to resign from their role within a year.

So what’s causing this regret?

The article doesn’t cite why the respondents have experienced regret. Yet it does call on employers to improve their understanding of this age group. Within this, a number of core employee priorities are discussed:

  • Development opportunities: allowing employees to continually update their skills and feel ‘relevant’ to the changing business landscape.
  • Flexible working opportunities and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Meaningful connections with their managers and teams.

What about other groups & your expectations?

As mentioned, it’s not only Gen Z job-seekers that have felt some level of job acceptance regret. Another study suggests that the failure of a job to meet expectations could be contributing to this issue. 48% of employees of all ages have left a position as a result of this. The disparity between expectations and reality was largely attributed to:

  • Differing job responsibilities (59%)
  • The ‘working environment’ (42%)
  • Working hours/shift patterns (35%)
  • And salary or benefits packages (29%)

Advice for candidates & employers:

It’s great that we have access to this sort of data as it helps us make better decisions, whether we’re looking for jobs or to create our teams.

Candidates: 

  • There’s always going to be the chance that a job differs from your expectations. Yet it’s helpful if you identify some of your hopes and priorities early in your job search.
  • Let your Recruitment Consultant know what matters most to you. Not only the jobs you’re looking for, yet the environments you work well, in and the salary package that you hope to achieve. Be honest with yourself. For example, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’d be happy to work alone in an office if you truly thrive off of a team setting.
  • Use your interviews as the opportunity to find out more about a typical day in the role and to get a sense of the business culture.
  • Try not to feel pressured into accepting a position if it’s ringing alarm bells. Consider all options: remaining in your existing role until something more suitable arises (if applicable/possible), considering temporary or contract work, and continuing your job search.

Employers:

  • There are two primary aspects to consider here: improved staff attraction and employee retention. They happen to be intrinsically linked.
  • You can have the ‘best’ staff attraction approach yet if the reality doesn’t meet expectation, you’ll experience high turnover rates. It’s about tapping into more of what employees value to both attract and keep your team.
  • Furthermore, the more honestly you can depict the role, the more likely you are to attract the right person to fill it. It’s better to have fewer highly suitable applicants than to feel forced into extending a job offer to someone who won’t be the best fit.
  • You can also use interviews to go beyond a candidate’s skills and into their values and attributes.
  • Work closely with your Recruitment Consultant to attract the right people for your roles. Call the office for further support on 01225 313130.


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.


How to showcase your achievements

Whether you’re looking for a job promotion or a brand new role, you need to know how to showcase your achievements to employers…

We’ll focus on targeting recruitment agencies and prospective employers today. However, if you’re reading this from the promotion perspective, simply use the tips to tailor your notes for an upcoming management meeting or appraisal.

Showcasing your achievements throughout your job search: 

The best CVs are those that spotlight your skills and successes – and manage to link these back to the position you’re applying for. Of course, when faced with a blank document, this can be much easier said than done.

Some of the best advice we’ve read on this topic comes from The Balance Careers. They explain how to:

  1. Define your past successes: looking back over previous roles and making sure you know ‘what success looked like in each position.’
  2. List your achievements: considering those moments in which you’ve excelled in your role and noting specific examples.
  3. Quantify your performance: using numbers to illustrate your achievements.
  4. Highlight any awards: as it sounds; we’ll come back to this shortly!
  5. Weave your findings into your CV and cover letter: suggesting powerful keywords, and how and where to reference your successes.

They even share some examples of their tips in action on a CV, cover letter and during an interview.

Please note: the above article comes from an American website, so watch that you don’t let any American-English slip into your CV. This can frustrate prospective employers!

Some extra tips for the list…

  • Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, get in the habit of following items 1-4.  It’s so much easier to recall your achievements when they’re fresh. Keep a dedicated list, so you’ll be able to select the most relevant examples for each job application.
  • Don’t worry if you’ve not been nominated for any awards! There are other ways to show recognition. Perhaps you’ve received praise from a boss or colleague, a promotion, or some form of prize/incentive for your work. Note these examples too.
  • Remember, the UK CV is ideally only around 2 pages long. It may be a single page for those with less work experience, or a 3-page document for more experienced professionals. However, there’s no reason you can’t get a bit creative and incorporate further details into a separate document to submit to your interviewer. Keep this snappy, using bullet points and graphics.
  • Remember, employers want to know how you can help them. Always draw your examples back to your company research. There’s more about this here.

Further reading:



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. 



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page