Which Skills Do Employers Value Most?

Which Skills Do Employers Value Most?

QS Staff Writer

Updated January 17, 2023 Updated January 17

By Josephine West

It’s fair to say that some employers see some skills as more important than others, but which ones will really help you to get ahead in the competitive graduate jobs market? Thanks to a new report released by QS and the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), we can find out. The report, titled ‘The Global Skills Gap in the 21st Century, is a fantastic resource for students looking to get ahead.

It found that the three most valued skills worldwide are:

  1. Problem-solving.
  2. The ability to work in a team.
  3. Communication skills.

While the three least important are:

  1. Commercial awareness.
  2. Negotiating.
  3. Language skills.

If you’re unaware of the top skills employers are looking for, then it can be difficult to prepare. For instance, given we live in an increasingly globalized world, it’s easy to see why you might assume that language skills could be highly sought-after in the labor market.

The Global Skills Gap report has revealed that most students do not fully understand which skills employers merit, as they tend to over-value the importance of creativity and leadership skills, and under-value the importance of flexibility/adaptability and teamwork.

The CEO of ISE in the UK, Stephen Isherwood, gave his thoughts on the biggest challenge graduates currently face: “The pace of change in the workplace is ever increasing, so graduates need to ensure they are developing the skills and abilities that will not only empower them to land the job of their choice, but allow them to thrive as their career develops.”

 Isherwood’s comment highlights the lack of communication between universities, students and employers, which exposes one of the fundamental flaws of higher education worldwide: If students are not equipped with the necessary skills to meet the labor market, then universities are failing in one of their key responsibilities. Graduates are unlikely to feel empowered, or to thrive to their best potential, if they do not possess the core skills employers seek.

Whilst universities may be some distance from bridging the graduate skills gap, students can use this research as opportunity to develop their skills in line with employer expectations. This could help to set them apart in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

Check out the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019 to find out which universities were ranked top for producing highly employable graduates.

This article was originally published in October 2018 . It was last updated in January 2020

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