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The skills companies need most in 2019

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Companies are finding it hard to recruit people with the right skills – that’s according to a report from the British Chambers of Commerce which surveyed 6,000 large firms searching for Employees in the final quarter of 2018. Of those taking part in the poll, 70 percent of respondents reported difficulties in filling their vacancies.

If you’ve ever had to change jobs, you’ll know that it’s important to keep up to date with changes in the workplace. Knowing what skills Employers are looking for – and making sure you’re able to list these on your CV – could be key to securing your next role. Read on for a lead on the most desirable skills and qualities this year.

Soft skills: What are Employers looking for?

These skills are the personal attributes you bring when you join a new company. You may have the qualifications, but you need to demonstrate characteristics like teamwork, perseverance and leadership in order to overcome day to day challenges and succeed.

Thanks to some data crunching from LinkedIn, we have a good idea of what businesses are looking for in 2019. In fact, the top five things they’re searching for are: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management – all great attributes to help you thrive in business.

It’s also worth looking at what the World Economic Forum says; you’ll need these ten skills to do well in the future job market: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, decision making, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility.

Developing soft skills: How can I do this?

Some things come to us naturally, and some are learned. If there’s something you’d like to improve on, take five minutes out and think how you can get training to help you in this area.

Test yourself – if you’d like to boost your creativity, challenge yourself to come up with five new ideas a day. Look at the people around you, and the people you admire, and seek inspiration from them. Surround yourself with inventive and original material by reading blogs, newspapers and magazines.

Find a mentor who can support you in your aims and give constructive feedback. If you’re in a job currently, set goals which are outside your comfort zone and seek help from experienced colleagues.

Remember, soft skills are important for Employers. They may be happy to train you on the job, but these kinds of qualities show that you’re able to adapt to the business.

Going digital: Are you clued up?

Wherever you work, technology is becoming increasingly important in your day to day role. So, are you comfortable with this – can you open a new piece of software and navigate your way round?

For some industries, it’s essential to keep up to date, to know about new inventions or trends which could impact the work you do. For example, if you’re employed in marketing, you’ll know that the way we communicate and how we do it is changing rapidly. To be an expert in this field, it’s key to keep abreast of technological development.

Now that most people use social media, recruiters want to know that you are social media savvy - in some cases they’ll be looking for evidence that Candidates can use this to boost a company’s profile and increase sales.

It’s possible to research much of this on your own, but if there’s something specific you’re interested in, such as digital marketing, why not search around to see if you can attend a short course or training event near you?

I’m looking to re-train: Where are the skills gaps?

In addition to those listed above, LinkedIn also found that companies are also looking for those Candidates who are knowledgeable in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, people management, user experience design, mobile application development and video production.

It’s no surprise that many of these are related to innovations in the digital world. Another key thing to highlight is the importance of communication. Professions where listening and storytelling is key also rank highly on LinkedIn’s list – including sales leadership, translation, social media marketing and journalism.

There’s been a lot in the news about Brexit and the impact this may have on recruitment. The UK Shortage Occupations List details occupations going through a shortage of skilled workers in this country. High up the list are jobs in engineering, healthcare, and arts and entertainment.

Keep learning: Prove you’re able to adapt

If you keep learning, you’ll never be out of a job for long. Take an interest in the world around you, read widely and listen to others. Think about the last time you did something new or took on a different challenge. If it’s been a while, use the new year as an excuse to seek out that opportunity.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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