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.


Measuring your soft skills

Your soft skills may soon be measured. Here’s why – plus our thoughts on what this means for recruitment…

Soft skills versus hard skills in recruitment

Your CV no doubt already houses a mix of soft and hard skills. Or, at least, it should!

Hard skills could also be named ‘objective’ skills as they’re the ones that you can provide hard, quantifiable, evidence of. For instance, your experience with a particular computer system, an industry qualification, the fact that you can speak French, etc.

In contrast, soft skills are those that are more subjective or qualitative. These are the skills that you can honestly profess to yet may not be able to quantify. For example, you can discuss your excellent team working skills yet you can’t state the exact level of these in relation to your job-hunting competitors.

Yet this may change…

Matthew Taylor (author of the Taylor Review) is calling for a new ’employability framework’ that will allow us all to measure these soft skills. The idea is that employees would be graded on ‘up to 15 broad skills categories’ both in appraisals and wider recruitment processes. And even before these processes begin, in academia.

His reasoning? The fact businesses recognise the importance of soft skills (in many cases saying they matter more!) despite the fact they’re harder to prove.

CV TIP: in the meantime, we always recommend providing evidence for the soft skills mentioned in your CV. Don’t just say you have excellent communication abilities, give an example to demonstrate their use and impact.

What does this mean for recruitment?

This could be a major step forward in-line with recruitment trends. Everything that we’ve been researching about the future of work suggests career sustainability will rely on our individual skills. We’ve recently discussed…

Number one on the list of nine most important skills just so happens to be a soft skill, and it’s not the only one listed either!

It’s great to see Taylor acknowledging the need to help employees find new roles more easily through transferable skills, as well as being able to identify any areas that candidates can work on to facilitate this.

Recognising employees in a more rounded way…

Taylor additionally stated that “it is also important to recognise that employees don’t just pick up soft skills on the job but also outside of their workplace experiences…a framework would encourage employers to see employees in a more “rounded way”.

Again, this is a statement that we can’t help but support. It reminds us of the difficulties candidates can experience when trying to re-enter the workplace after a career break. This is a topic that we discuss in more depth from the business side in the Spring HR Newsletter (coming very soon!). Please drop us an email to ensure your name is on the list for this edition.

Also in the news…

On the topic of the future of work, we were interested to read The Independent’s report on ‘Children of Britain’s ‘digital generation’ aiming for careers in technology‘.

The piece is referring to children aged between five and 16. It clearly highlights the gap between parents’ career aspirations for their children and children’s own.

The top five career choices for kids now include…

Parents’ versus Children’s:

  1. Doctor vs. YouTuber/Vlogger
  2. Teacher vs. Animator
  3. Both: Software Developer
  4. Lawyer vs. Web Designer
  5. Engineer vs. Coder

The post also explores the ways in which parents can increase their confidence in their children’s digital activity, and help them to work safely towards related careers; at a time when the career landscape is so rapidly changing.