What do employers value most in potential employees?

People hangout together at coffee shop

New analysis of over 700 keywords from popular business role job specifications, carried out by The University of Law Business School, has revealed the key terms and phrases that employers are really looking for from candidates.

While it is widely assumed that previous experience and job capability are the most favoured skills for a prospective employee, the research found that it is a candidate’s personality that employers actually value most in the business world.

The top ten skills sought by employers are:

1.     Communication skills – (90%)

2.     Relationship building – (83%)

3.     Organisation skills – (63%), work well under pressure – (63%)

4.     Results driven – (60%)

5.     Time management – (57%)

6.     Team player – (50%)

7.     Analytical skills – (47%), attention to detail – (47%), people skills – (47%), self-motivated – (47%)

8.     Management skills (43%), leadership skills (43%)

9.     IT skills (40%), Negotiating skills (40%)

10.  Problem solving (37%)

Of the top ten most desirable skills, only three are related to job capabilities (IT skills, problem solving, results driven), while the majority (70%) are personality-related traits.

Communication (90%) and relationship skills (83%) came out on top as the most desirable skills that employers look for, proving that a person’s ability to communicate well, bond with colleagues and build professional relationships is more favoured than their existing skillset, experience and ability to understand certain job processes.

The research also showed the skills and requirements that appear less frequently in job specifications.

While many students and recent graduates lament the fact they are expected to have years of real-world experience straight out of university, the research found that ‘past experience’ appeared in the least amount of job specifications (3%), slightly behind other traits such as being adaptable (3%) and being an independent worker (3%).

These are encouraging statistics for those starting out on the career ladder, or looking to change career path, with a lack of experience in the business industry.

Commenting on the results, Jo Lozinska, employability manager at The University of Law Business School, said: “It’s really interesting to see what employers consider to be the most valuable when it comes to the candidates they are interviewing, but what’s particularly surprising is that past experience is the least desirable skill for a prospective employee to have.

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“Many people believe that they cannot land their dream business job without a wealth of previous experience, so it’s very encouraging that employers in the business world are seemingly favouring personality traits over experience. This will give recent graduates and people with little experience in the business industry hope that they can land a great job in business without having to worry about what they have done previously.”

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