To maximise your chances of getting a job you need to make sure that you know what employability skills you need.
If you understand where there are skills gaps then you can plan your education and training to make sure that you have the work skills that employers want.
What is a skills gap?
A skills gap exists when employers struggle to find employees with the right skills and qualifications to fill their job vacancies.
Why are there employability skills gaps?
Sometimes, certain subjects and types of study or courses go out of fashion. This can happen for a number of reasons but it can result in skills gaps where there simply are not enough people trained or qualified in certain subjects or who have the skills needed to support business growth and industry.
What skills do employers want me to have?
UK employers say that:
- Managers are needed in construction.
- Professionals are needed to work in public admin, health and social care, business services manufacturing and transport and communications.
- Associate professionals are needed in business services as well as the wholesale and retail sector.
- Skilled tradespeople are needed for business services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transport and communications and the hotels and restaurants sector.
- Machine operatives are needed to work within the construction and the business services sectors.
What are soft skills?
Aside from technical, job-specific skills, employers list the following employability skills – or soft skills, as they’re known – as most in need of improvement.
- Planning and organisational skills
- Problem solving skills
- Team working skills
- Communication skills
- Numeracy skills
- Literacy skills
Remember – when it comes to soft or employability skills, it isn’t enough to just tell an employer you have them. You need to show them the evidence by giving examples of how you developed your skills and when and where you made use of them. This could be a successful presentation you delivered, an event that you helped to organise, or when you worked successfully as part of a team – these are all examples of you having used and understood the value of soft skills.
You don’t have to have developed these skills through paid work. There are plenty of home or school activities and voluntary jobs which require them. This is why doing things like your National Citizen Service or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards look good and are really important to add to your CV or any job applications.