What are employability skills?

Employability skills are the core competencies and key personal attributes that are required for nearly every job. They are the skills that employers believe will enable the employee to carry out their job to the best of their ability and are the general skills that most employers look for when recruiting. They are sometimes referred to as soft skills or transferable skills. They are the kind of skills you pick up through life experience and should not be confused with hard skills, which are the skills needed to do a specific job, generally gained through work, learning or training.

Why are they important?

Your employability skills will shape which education and career path you decide to follow, and they will help you to work effectively throughout your career. In today’s competitive job market, it’s important to stand out and employability skills can help you do that. Being able to demonstrate good employability skills could be what makes an employer choose you. They are also useful skills that will help you outside of work. It’s important to understand the employability skills that you already have, and others that you may need to develop in the future.

The Skills Builder Universal Framework, which is being used successfully by many schools, colleges, universities and employers defines 8 essential skills as follows:

Listening: The receiving, retaining and processing of information or ideas

Speaking: The oral transmission of information or ideas

Problem solving: The ability to find a solution to a situation or challenge

Creativity: The use of imagination and the generation of new ideas

Staying positive: The ability to use tactics and strategies to overcome setbacks and achieve goals

Aiming high: The ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them

Leadership: Supporting, encouraging and developing others to achieve a shared goal

Teamwork: Working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goal

These crucial skills are high on employers’ wish lists, as they will enable you to be successful in your job.

Use Skills Builder’s free tools and resources to start building your essential skills. They break each of the eight skills down into a sequence of steps, taking you from being an absolute beginner through to mastery:

Useful Links

Find out what skills are needed in the Hull and East Yorkshire area in our LMI section.

Register for an account on >log on | move on> today and create your own Skills Passport.

Take the National Careers Service Skills Health Check to help you explore your skills, interests and motivations. Working through the skills health check can help you decide what kind of jobs might be right for you.

Check out the National Careers Service Discover your skills and careers tool. It takes 5 to 10 minutes and will help you identify your interests, motivations and preferences. Understanding yourself can help you work out what careers you may enjoy working in. You can then use this information to explore careers that interest you in more detail.

Explore the National Careers Service Skills Toolkitwhich offers free courses to help you learn new skills or change jobs. Courses include business and finance, coding, computer essentials, computer science, digital design and marketing, personal growth and wellbeing, professional development and practical maths.

Use Barclays LifeSkills or the BT Standout Skills Guides to identify your employability skills.