Work skills – what do employers want?

Regardless of the specific, technical skills that are needed to do a job, there are some work skills that everybody needs to get by and be successful in the workplace. 61% of firms say school and college leavers have not developed the self-management skills they need for work while at school. It’s not just about being about to spell and do maths. Literacy and numeracy are the basic building blocks that help young people learn other subjects, get on in life and find rewarding work. But it’s not just about literacy and numeracy. Even the best-performing nations say the number one issue in education is to better equip school leavers with the broader skills needed for working life, and we are no exception. Employers still find that some young people lack the initiative, problem-solving and communication skills to succeed at work.What do employers want?Employers want to see more young people entering the workplace who :
Have adequate literacy skills (i.e. can spell, can use punctuation and can write a letter and generate or respond to e-mails for business purposes)
Are numerate
Have good organizational skills
Have decent computer skills (in things like word processing, spreadsheet and database software packages, because these are what are generally used at work)
Can answer the telephone appropriately
Have good time-keeping skills
Dress suitably for work
Are capable of communicating appropriately with staff and clients at different levels
How do you develop these skills?Even if you don’t have a job you can develop your organisational skills alongside your numeracy skills by taking charge of the meal planning and food ordering at home and if you want to become confident when communicating with people then practise. When you go out for a meal then take the lead in ordering and if something needs fixing at home then take charge of arranging for the plumber (or whoever it is) to come and sort it.At work though, you will be expected to answer the telephone in a manner that informs the caller where they have called and who they are speaking to as well as enquiring as to how you can help. Answering the telephone perhaps is interesting because more and more families do not use a landline. Having mobile phones, we tend to know that it’s someone calling for us. This means that we perhaps have lost the skill of answering the telephone carefully in anticipation of it being a potentially important call for another member of the family.

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