Employers reveal top skills required for 2021


Simon Winfield, Managing Director – Hays UK & Ireland

As the New Year gets underway, there is a renewed focus on skills and development within the world of work. However, according to new research from recruiting experts, Hays, the skills which organisations are most in need of and those which employees want to develop are different.

The research surveyed 23,000 respondents and uncovered the skills which organisations are most in need of over the next 12 months. These are:

  1. Communication and interpersonal skills (needed by 55%)
  2. Ability to adopt change (53%)
  3. Problem-solving (45%)
  4. Flexibility and adaptability (43%)
  5. People management skills (41%)

Despite these skills being most in demand by employers, they differ considerably to the skills which employees want to develop in order to progress their career. These are:

  1. People management skills (37%)
  2. Communication and interpersonal skills (29%)
  3. Critical thinking (29%)
  4. Negotiation (27%)
  5. Judgement and decision-making skills (26%)

Only communication and interpersonal skills make it into both lists, highlighting that there is a clear mismatch between the skills organisations are in need of and those employees want to develop.

Employers press ahead with upskilling plans
Despite this mismatch, employers remain focused on upskilling in the year ahead. Over two thirds (69%) say they plan to help employees upskill in their current profession, and over a third (37%) say they plan to support employees to undertake academic qualifications in their current profession.

Less than one in five (16%) say they don’t plan to support the upskilling of their staff in the next year.

Encouragingly, nearly all (97%) employees believe that they have the skills needed to fulfil their current role. Of those who don’t however, the reason most gave was that they are unable to undertake training or personal development due to the impact on their time and workload.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, comments: “Professional development is a high priority for employees, particularly as we enter the New Year. No longer is it something that’s merely nice to have – employees want it to be a core part of their career and expect their employer to support this. We have observed an increase in candidates who enquire about this when exploring new job opportunities.

For professionals looking for a new role in the New Year, it’s wise to stay ahead of what skills employers are looking for and what skills will help you to get your next job. Consider how you can articulate these in both the application and interview process.

For employers, make sure you offer a wide range of training opportunities, which enable staff to develop different skillsets. Having diverse strengths among your workforce will ultimately benefit your organisation and aid employee attraction and retention.”



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