With more people than ever before having university degrees or high level vocational training, it’s no wonder the jobs market is highly competitive.
But despite this, many companies still complain that young people come to them not ready for the world of work, and without many of the basic skills they need to get ahead in the modern workplace.
In a world driven increasingly by digital technology, many new skills are needed in the modern workplace.
But many of the ‘soft’ skills that have the mainstay of workplaces for years are as important now as they ever have been.
New skills are needed in today’s world of business
To help people prepare for the world of work, we have picked out the seven skills we think graduates and schools leavers need to have to improve their employment prospects.
1. Commercial awareness
Employers will say there is nothing worse than interviewing a young person who has made little or no effort to find out how their company works.
Nobody expects an interviewee to understand the intricate workings of a business they have not been in, but some grasp of how it makes a profit and the areas in which it could grow – as well as the potential threats to the company’s financial performance – are essential.
Even in more technical jobs, the ability to communicate with colleagues and customers is vital.
Good written and verbal communication skills are essential for all companies. Employers will look for decent spelling and grammar on application forms and will want to see, at interview, that people care capable of expressing themselves. Confidence is also good – as long as it doesn’t tip into arrogance!
There are few, if any, companies where the ability to work in a team is not important.
Teamwork involves the ability to pull together with colleagues to achieve a shared goal, as well as supporting and encouraging fellow workers.
People applying for jobs should be able to point to experiences where they have worked well in a team, whether it was in a part-time job, a voluntary position or in a sports team.
Workers at Derbyshire’s Thorntons factory
4. Problem solving
The ability to take a logical and analytical approach to working through a problem is highly valued by employers.
Many interviewers will set applicants a practical test to assess their problem-solving ability.
Most companies now are lean operations where there isn’t time for disorganised workers.
The ability to work under pressure, hit deadlines and balance home and work life are important to potential employers.
6. Digital skills
Not everyone knows advanced coding but a certain level of IT know-how is a given for most jobs in the 21st century.
Being computer literate to the level of being able to send emails, use word processors and spreadsheets is important even for people not doing computer-based jobs.
7. A willingness to learn and adapt
The age of the ‘job for life’ is gone, and most people entering the job market in 2017 will be doing something different by the time they retire.
Survival in the modern workplace – for both companies and their employees – depends on a willingness to learn new skills and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.
Source: Derby Telegraph