Attitude in job market posed to shift

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UK businesses have overwhelmingly voted that “can-do” attitudes and soft skills, such as interpersonal and communications skills, will rate highest in their recruitment processes in 2011.

a nationwide survey of 5,000 business owners on what they look for when recruiting new workers suggests that the job market is undergoing a dramatic step change, with “street-smart” fast overtaking “book-smart” on the list of UK business desirables.

With the average person investing £25,000 in a university education, students should consider investing more time in developing soft skills, alongside expanding their knowledge.

According to the survey a “can-do” attitude and soft skills were noted as the most important attributes that employers looked for when recruiting new workers, with 85 per cent of responses. Academic qualifications and professional qualifications trailed behind, at 27 and 28 per cent respectively.
 
Just 25 per cent of employers said that computer literacy is a key attribute that they look for when reviewing CVs, with many business owners now expecting employees to possess basic IT skills.

Phil Stewart, Director of Customer Service, Virgin Media Business, said: “When I interview applicants to join my customer service department, soft skills certainly top my list. The job market is saturated with an influx of applicants; from university-leavers competing for a small pool of graduate schemes, to a host of 18 year-olds entering the job market for the first time, having been put off university by the rise in tuition fees. Businesses are spoiled for choice, giving employers carte blanche to hold out for workers with the right personalities that can set them apart from competitors.
 
"The change in values could be seen as a reaction to the increasing ubiquity of higher education, or an attempt to differentiate from competitors by recruiting workers that embody an organisation's values and give them an extra edge. With organisations facing enough problems as it is, it's no surprise that a 'can-do' attitude and an ability to offer creative solutions to problems now top employers' wish lists."

School Leadership Today
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