Which Employability Skills Matter Most

Employer expectations are changing and it's important to know which employability skills matter most. We've asked the right people and crunched the numbers to ensure you know what's what when starting your new career.

22 Jul 2016

You’re just shy of graduating or you’ve completed your course and you’ve started to wonder – what do employers expect of me? It’s a good question to ask, and one we’re more than happy answer. From recent studies performed in Australia, we have put together some interesting insight into employability skills are most sought after by employers.

The government led research sourced its many insights from a sample composed of over 2000 graduates and more than 500 supervisors. The courses and industries covered range from those where a qualification is a must (e.g. engineering) through to a surprising number of which where it’s not required but still comes as an advantage.

First thing to note – little more than 50% of the roles covered required qualifications. Fortunately for you, from a supervisor’s point of view, more than 90% of them feel a qualified graduate will be better prepared for a role, and more than 86% believe the required technical skills will have been learned.

Let’s breakdown which employability skills you need to get ahead in today’s workforce (note for all graphs, click to see them in full detail).

Basic Skills

The broad ‘foundation’ skills that are learned while completing your course are among the most beneficial for entering the workforce. Both graduates and supervisors surveyed a) had said skills; and b) saw their benefits respectively.

Basic Employability Skills
Basic skills needed in today’s workforce.


Adaptation, Independence, and Flexibility

As we all know, no role or industry is static – things change all the time. As it turns out, the up-to-date element of your course coupled with the problem solving and forward thinking capacities instilled in you are going to help here. The highest ranked employability skills in this space among both grads and supervisors are the capacity to understand and adapt to different viewpoints – something you will encounter constantly in the workforce.

Graph of important adaptation skills
How adaptation helps in getting a job


The Power of Teamwork

As much as some of us bemoan group assignments, interpersonal skills you have picked up throughout your course are going to work in your favour in the years ahead. Employers feel there is great value in teamwork and strong interpersonal skills, with most supervisors seeing this as essential.

Teamwork Skills
How teamwork impacts employability


All-Round Employability Skills

In terms of generic skills, there are a few that you will have gained from study that are seen as clear pluses by supervisors.  Skills in areas such as research, meeting deadlines, and flexibility rank among the biggest advantages working in your favour, especially when combined with the specialised expertise gained from your particular course.

All-Round Employability Skills
Generic, but essential, employability skills


You’re On Your Way

If you were looking for a little more reassurance, the latest Graduate Careers Australia survey has figures that heavily favour those with practical skills. This means so long as you have the skills, you have all the potential you need – especially if said skills have come from a recognised qualification.

Eager to develop your employability skills further? Sign up for the Next Step program today to discover a whole new world of essential skills and handy tips.

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