Recruitment opportunities eroded by perception gap between the skills jobseekers and employers find important, finds Learndirect

David Woods , 21 Feb 2012


There is a perception gap between the skills employers are looking for from prospective employees and the skills jobseekers believe to be important, according to Learndirect.

Its findings show there is a divergence of views when it comes to workplace skills such as teamwork, communication and dealing with customers.

One in 10 jobseekers think workplace skills are important, whilst 88% of employers say they are a top priority. Getting through recruitment is also a challenge: a quarter of jobseekers sat they don't know how to create a good impression in interviews; and 42% of employers say the majority of interviewees fail to impress them at this crucial stage.

But jobseekers need to brush up on their basic skills according to the survey as 40% say poor spelling is the area they have been criticised for the most in previous jobs, whilst 56% of employers rate proficiency in English as a top priority when recruiting.

Jobseekers blame the education system for letting them down with 38% of jobseekers and 37% of employers saying schools and colleges need to better prepare students for the job market.

John Hayes, minister of state for further education, skills and lifelong learning, said: "The social and economic importance of practical learning cannot be overestimated. Learndirect's campaign will play a valuable role in inspiring people from all walks of life to learn new skills, as well as offering vital guidance to help translate aspiration into action. Building lives by building life chances."

Peter Shufflebotham, head of skills at Learndirect, added: "For years employers have been very vocal about the importance of basic skills, such as maths and English, as well as the ability to demonstrate skills for the workplace, such as good communication and teamwork. We wanted to see if this message is reaching the people applying for jobs. Unfortunately the answer seems to be no as our research reveals jobseekers remain confused about what employers are looking for.


"Apprenticeships, online courses and other learning programmes are all great ways to help develop those key skills for work. With our campaign partners, like NHS Direct, the National Apprenticeship Service and Skillsmart Retail, we're spreading the word about the learning opportunities out there and helping people understand what they need to do to improve their job prospects."


This research was conducted as part of the Learndirect Make it Count campaign, which aims to help improve the nation's job prospects. Learndirect is teaming up with partners including the National Apprenticeship Service, NHS Direct and Totaljobs to encourage more people to learn the skills they need to stand out to employers and get a job.

Redshift Research was commissioned by Learndirect to survey unemployed people (2,950) living in England and Wales to highlight the perception gap between what jobseekers and employers think are the key skills to getting a job.

The research took place between 12 December 2011 and 4 January 2012.

Business feedback was collated via telephone interviews conducted across (462) medium and large sized companies in December 2011 and (76) businesses contacted through Survey Monkey between 5 and 17 January 2012.


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The missing 3rd Element

James Lanas 09 Mar 2012

The question is what is more important, workplace Skills or soft skills? “One in 10 job seekers think workplace skills are important, whilst 88% of employers say they are a top priority” “42% of employers say the majority of interviewees fail to impress them at this crucial stage” Research studies show that workplace compatibility is of key importance to organisational health; employees who are a good fit with their colleagues perform better and stay longer in post. This reduced staff turnover has a positive impact on training, recruitment budgets and competitiveness. However, the final decision to hire a candidate is based mainly using ones intuition. The quantitative Information used to select is based on Skills, Knowledge and Abilities ‘SKA'. The missing link of information is the 3rd Element (soft skills) the reason employees leave an organisation; they are hired for what they know and fired, or leave, because they do not fit in with the organisational culture. There needs to be a scientific, quantitative method to measure the 3rd Element and compatibility.

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