Employers look for workers with soft skills as they struggle to fill talent gap

Soft skills like openness to change are becoming more desirable as the technical skills gap continues to tighten. Here are the employee characteristics that bosses are most interested in.

Research from Robert Half reveals that the widely predicted talent exodus post-Brexit will not help matters as almost half of UK companies (49 per cent) struggle to find skilled workers.

As a result, one fifth (21 per cent) are now looking to recruit candidates who have exceptional soft skills, with a view to developing the desired technical skills on the job.

The research shows that UK business leaders consider an openness to new ideas (28 per cent), an openness to change (26 per cent) and good communication abilities (19 per cent) as key attributes and will prioritise these areas when considering new talent. They also like to see team spirit (11 per cent) and flexibility (7 per cent).

Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half, says that digitisation and automation are rapidly evolving the business world. Companies are having to quickly adapt to the changing world of work, and are looking for employees who can keep pace,

‘It’s no longer enough to simply execute on the day-to-day tasks. Being adaptable, collaborative and open to innovation and change are vital employee characteristics for modern organisations. As the skills shortage continues to tighten, businesses looking to tap into a wider talent pool need to consider the long-term value a candidate’s attitude and soft skills can bring to a role.’

‘For candidates this means it’s simply not enough to have qualifications listed on your CV. You must demonstrate these softer skills on paper and in a job interview if you want to get the role that will help you achieve your long-term career success,’ he adds.

Further reading on employee skills

Guide to effectively capturing your employees’ skills

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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