In-demand transferable skills for every career path

Traditionally our ability to do a particular job has been defined by an individual’s range of technical and academic skills. Readers will be familiar with hiring managers and recruiters asking for a specific set of qualifications to help them understand candidates’ abilities.

More recently however, with the rise of flexible working and greater application of technology into most professional job roles, transferable skills have increasingly come to the fore.

Skills such as communication, resilience, adaptability, and accountability, are increasingly sought after as the defining difference in securing reliable performers in a fast-changing work environment.

Recent studies of UK job advertisements show demand for collaboration, communication, relationship management and stakeholder management outranking demand for more technical skills, in part due to the application of these skills across a wider range of roles.

According to this data[1], the top ten most sought-after skills in the UK are:

·       Collaboration

·       Communication

·       Relationship Management

·       Stakeholder management

·       Problem Solving

·       Analysis

·       Organisation

·       Time management

·       Customer-focus

·       Teamwork

For many people these skills are innate and born from culture, experience, and personality rather than something learned in a structured manner like technical skills and qualifications.

Typically, these skills are always evolving rather than becoming obsolete over time which is the risk with technical skills that are not kept up to date.

Similar research by LinkedIn exploring mis-hires shows that lack of these transferable skills are the primary reason for new hires not working out.

So how should we develop these transferable skills for ourselves and our teams?

Opportunities for social and experiential learning with your current roles and teams can provide a strong basis for developing transferable skills.

Social learning can help develop your skills through activities such as seeking informal feedback and work debriefs, asking for advice and opinions from colleagues, obtaining coaches from managers and using your meetings with them to secure feedback.

Experiential learning can develop your transferable skills through activities such as taking on new responsibilities, covering for colleagues, gaining exposure to other parts of your business and that of your customers, and developing your professional network.

Structured learning opportunities can help develop the tools and techniques required for improved performance and career progression. These are typically bitesize activities compared to technical skills acquisition meaning that new ways of working can be quickly made to count.

Participation in these types of activities as part of your Continuous Professional Development programme can help manage the balance between developing technical and transferable skills to optimise your performance.

If your organisation would benefit from additional perspective on how best to leverage the skills of your existing team to make sure your organisation has the full range of skills required for the year ahead, please contact Chris Hodson or Zoe Niven for an exploratory conversation.

[1] HR News, October 2022. Why transferable skills are more in demand than ever - HR News