It just got personal - employers reveal skills they look for

We asked a group of employers what they're looking when interviewing young people and it's no longer just professional skills
6 April 2017

According to a recent study we conducted, employers across the UK are looking for more than just work-related skills from the young people they employ.

Our survey asked senior managers at more than 200 businesses the top three non work-related qualities they look for when hiring young people and the results were as follows:

  1. Learning new skills (57%)
  2. Being well-read (47%)
  3. Having a strong interest in a hobby (43%) 

 

"It’s interesting to see more and more employers recognising and seeking out transferrable skills developed outside the workplace"
Rosi Prescott, Chief Executive of Central YMCA

Other qualities that scored high on the list was travel, experiences of other culture and those with a keen interest in charity or community work. 

Only one in 10 managers believed that young people enter the workforce fully prepared with the skills required to be an efficient employee, however, more than half said young people do tend to be eager to learn and develop their skills. 

Why this is important

This simply proves that education system must put more focus on soft-skills and personal development, rather than solely prioritising technical skills. 

Rosi Prescott, chief executive of Central YMCA, said: “It can be argued that the findings of the survey have proven that it’s your CV that gets you the interview but it’s your personality, and life experience, that gets you the job. It’s interesting to see more and more employers recognising and seeking out transferrable skills developed outside the workplace, such as a desire to learn new skills, to read broadly, and to socialise, or keep active with a hobby. These young people will make attractive employees as they will likely be fast learners, knowledgeable of the world around them, and easier to work with on a personal level.

 

"It has also become evident that there is a soft skills gap which needs plugging - most employers are reporting that young people lack basic soft skills, such as punctuality and appropriate mobile phone usage."
Rosi Prescott, Chief Executive of Central YMCA

“However, it has also become evident that there is a soft skills gap which needs plugging - most employers are reporting that young people lack basic soft skills, such as punctuality and appropriate mobile phone usage. But, with employers recognising the enthusiastic can-do attitudes of the vast majority of young people in the UK, we’re hopeful that this can be harnessed to bring their soft-skills up to scratch.”

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