Skill Employers Look For

Employability means having developed the capacity to obtain or create work and whether you are a school leaver, a college or university graduate, your qualifications, regardless of grades or level of pass are simply not enough to ensure that you are employable or that your career prospects are good enough to allow you to pursue a career path of your dreams.

Different industry sectors demand different employability skills – personal as well as technical.  Most employer surveys do, however, note that personal skills have at least equal rating with technical skills or qualifications for example;

In the Confederation of British Industries Education and Skills Survey: 2015, employers state:‘By far the most important factors employers weigh up when recruiting school and college leavers are attitudes (85%) and aptitudes (58%).  These rank well ahead of formal qualifications’. 1

Student starting on her career path
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Students on an employability course

Research by the Institute of Leadership and Management with Ashridge Business School suggests that over half (56%) of graduates expected to be in a management role within three years of starting work, while 13% of graduates expected to obtain a management role within a year.2

Ambitious employees are attractive to the majority of employers however translating ambition into reality requires not only a plan but also an awareness of the skills and attitudes that employers look for.

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce highlights that firms believe that the majority of graduates and school leavers are NOT prepared for work with reasons given such as “lack of careers focus in schools” and lack of focus on “skills needed for work including soft skills, communication and team working” 3

To be attractive to potential employers you need to be able to demonstrate different employability skills including soft skills (e.g. communication, team-working principles, problem-solving) and career-specific skills (e.g. computer software). These are the key skills employers look for.

Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that you have accumulated knowledge and can apply information in the workplace while showing a positive attitude which demonstrates energy, commitment and contribution. An employability program could help improve your ability to demonstrate these key skills. 

Key skills employers look for highlighted in a employability course


Employability course students working on a training programme

Developing your appeal to employers includes things such as knowing yourself, your profile, your desired career path and being able to positively present yourself in writing and in person. Understanding the importance of professional networking and showing how you would leverage a developed network to connect you with career opportunities are becoming increasingly important.

It is patently clear then that transferable skills and broad-based soft skills and experience are more important than your particular discipline of study for impacting employability. Evidence for this comes from a recent decision by the accountancy firm Ernst and Young who decided to drop degree classification thresholds for graduate recruitment suggesting that there is “‘No evidence’ that success at university is linked to achievement in professional assessments”. 4

Employability skills: Integrity


Someone who is sincere, genuine and will behave appropriately – in other-words, how you will behave when no-one is looking.

Amployability skills: Achievement


Someone who will contribute effectively to the organisations success.

Employability skills: Loyalty


Someone who does what is expected and recognises that the needs of the organisation are as important as individual needs.

Employability skills: Self development


Someone who applies concepts of continuous improvement to personal development.

Get ahead of the crowd with the IEP (employability skills course) BUY NOW

Having an understanding of yourself and the importance of the skills and attitudes employers are looking for is one thing - being able to articulate these personal assets and the value you can add to an employer is another. Many potential employees look good ‘on paper’ however, are you the real deal – can you also ‘walk the talk?

We can help you to impress potential employers with our employability skills course.

Contact us using the address or go directly to our website and take our course The Curriculo Industry Engagement Programme. Read all about it here:

(1) The development of learner employability in Scotland’s colleges

 A thematic aspect report by Education Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council

30 September 2016

(2) Institute of Leadership and Management with Ashridge Business School (2011), “Great Expectations: managing Generation Y”

(3) BCC Workforce Survey conducted in July 2014

(4) ttps://