The most relevant skills you should develop in order to attract employers
Skills Development Scotland explains the main skills required by employers at University of Strathclyde
A job interview can seem like a mysterious process, especially for a fresh graduate. Knowing what an employer is looking for during a job interview is important, but knowing what they’re looking for once the job actually starts is the key to success.
According to Scottish Government Labour Market statistics, the employment rate in Scotland during 2016 was 5% lower than it was at the start of the 2008 recession. Youth employment rates, for those aged 16 to 24 years old, were also lower, down 2.4%.
Terry Dillon, programme manager at Skills Development Scotland, predicts that Scotland’s job market, measured between 2000 and 2025, will grow for people with medium and high qualifications, including bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates.
At a forum titled “Developing skills that employers need” at the Be Enterprising event held at the University of Strathclyde, Dillon shared skills sought by employers that graduates should develop to improve their employment prospects.
Dillon said that for those who “live in the Industry 4.0 era – the age of cyber-physical systems – there are specific skills required by employers”. He listed areas of skill that prospective employees should develop: digital/technology, creative thinking/experimentation, analysis and interpretation, strategy development, planning and administration, social networking, development and coaching, and collaboration.
During the event, Dillon spoke about the “T-shaped” individual system. “The T-shaped person has broader skills and knowledge and learns by linking up different perspectives from different specialities,” he said.
“An employee should have six important abilities: resilience, problem solving, innovation, entrepreneurship, self-management and social intelligence,” he added.
He shared his advice for people who want to improve their skills and prospects with The New Normal Magazine.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
I think long term success probably needs to be viewed through a slightly different lens than it is today. The lifecycles of products, services and companies are shortening to the point that long-term success will be delivered via a number of successes and possibly a few failures. The best way as I can see to achieve this would be to maintain an entrepreneurial mindset that is constantly scanning for opportunities, acting upon these opportunities and when these don’t go to plan, learning from them and continuing to move forward with your new knowledge.
In your opinion, what is the key skill an employer or entrepreneur can pass to an employee?
I think it is courage. As an employee, you are insulated from the risks of operating your own business – profitability, cash flow, etc. But as a compromise, you do not get the full benefit from the output of your labour, if this exceeds your salary.
As an entrepreneur, these constraints around the lower and higher aspects of risk and reward are removed and you are responsible wholly for your success. Courage, resilience and a willingness to keep learning.
In your opinion, during a job interview, what is the most important skill that an employer is looking for from a new employee?
Different employers look for different things, but as a student or someone with a limited work history, what employers are looking for is the right attitude. Qualifications are used as a proxy for capability. You have a degree in the discipline we are looking for equals you have knowledge and underlying capability to do the job, but so does everyone else in your class. Tell us about what differentiates you from your peers and how you are going to add value to the work and the team. Think “T- shaped”. What are the unique perspectives and insights you can bring to the role?