The skills that employers want in the modern workplace

Posted on 11 Oct 2021
The skills that employers want in the modern workplace

Focus on these employability skills during your studies – and talk about them in interviews – to land yourself a great job with prospects.

I'm always on the look out for useful articles and information to share with candidates and when I saw this one, I thought it ideal and timely content for our October Newsletter.  The article is taken from, it's aimed at graduates, but when I read it, I thought there was so much here that was relevant to all candidates.

"The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) recently undertook research with students, employers and universities to find out more about employability skills for the current world of work. Employability skills are those core behaviours and skills that make a real difference when you’re applying for and progressing in a job. Over and above the technical requirements of the role, these are the attributes that employers want to see. More on these in a minute.

What else will you need to succeed?
CMI’s latest thought leadership report, Work-ready Graduates: Building Employability Skills for a Hybrid World, highlights the importance of employers and educational institutions connecting to equip students with the employability skills required for the world of work:

  • According to the research, nearly 80% of employers believe that current graduates do not arrive fully equipped with the skills they need to be work-ready.
  • The report also finds that employers are increasingly looking for skills that support working in a hybrid environment.

Okay, back to the skills you’ll need. It’s a weird job market right now. There are lots of opportunities out there, but many graduates find themselves doing jobs that are medium or low-skilled.
This is where employability skills come in. These are the behaviours and skills that make you more likely to gain high-skilled employment and be successful there. So if you want to increase your chances of success in work, we recommend that you focus on developing these skills – and be sure to tell your future or current employer that you’ve got capabilities in the following areas:

  • Team-working
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Self-management
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Initiative and self-direction
  • Digital skills
  • Resilience
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Entrepreneurial skills

Of these, the top three skills that employers say are critical to employability, and where students most need training, are: team-working (58% of employers said this); critical thinking and problem-solving (54%); and communication(52%). So bear these in mind when you’re doing any personal development – and, again, let interviewers know about any experiences that have helped you develop these skills. That time when you got past a road bump in a project – that’s how you built problem-solving skills. That college task that you achieved as a group – that’s evidence of team-working. Don’t be shy about highlighting them!

Remember, you’ll be working in a new, hybrid world. Employers also told us that graduates need new skills to work in a digital environment. You may not get regular face-to-face time with a line manager, or indeed have in-person job interviews. So bear in mind these aptitudes, which employers highlighted as being important for new graduates:

  • Ability to build bonds with colleagues in digital environments from the start of a career
  • Awareness of how to become more ‘visible’ in organisations, in a context of remote working
  • Motivating themselves to work remotely, rather than among people."

I hope you found that useful, and as always, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me if I can help with your job search.

Best wishes,

[email protected]