Leadership skills most in demand in early 2021 job market

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Leadership skills such as coaching, onboarding and decision-making are the top of employers’ wish lists for 2021.

According to data from job search engine Adzuna, the percentage of advertisements seeking candidates with coaching abilities rose from 3.3% in 2019 to 3.7% in 2020, making it the skill with the fastest growing popularity throughout the year.

Similarly, demand for onboarding skills rose from 0.4% in 2019 to 0.7% for 2020. Adverts citing decision-making rose from 1.3% to 1.4%.

The demand for leadership skills reflect how employers are responding to the fallout of the pandemic and where potential skills shortages and opportunities may lie.


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Last year, advertisements for skilled staff exceeded the opportunities offered to entry-level applicants.

Though advertised UK vacancies were down 35.8% in 2020 compared to 2019 overall, entry-level graduate vacancies were down 61% year-on-year.

There are around 8,000 adverts for graduate vacancies compared to over 22,000 for more experienced roles advertising salaries over £70,000 on Adzuna’s website at the moment.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “The hiring landscape changed dramatically over 2020 and hiring patterns shifted with a different set of skills needed for 2021.

“Leadership skills such as onboarding and decision-making have grown in demand as employers seek experienced staff to help them navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.

“That’s also borne out in job vacancies, where openings for more experienced staff have recovered more quickly than those for entry level positions.”

Topping the list of hard skills in demand for 2021 were training (wanted by 37% of job advertisements), design (cited by 9.5% of adverts) and degree-level qualifications (also cited by 9.5% of adverts).

By comparison, 55.7% of CVs on the site mentioned training, 34.7% cited design, and 20.6% mentioned a degree.

Adzuna’s data is based on 498,742 UK job adverts that were live in October 2020 and a sample of 148,516 candidate CVs.

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