Today’s job market is incredibly complex for both job-seekers and employers. In 2022, global skills shortages reached a 16-year high, with nearly three-quarters of employers reporting difficulty in finding the talent they need. In Australia, this figure was even higher, with roughly 81% of employers recording this challenge.
With these figures in mind, it’s more important than ever to stand out as a candidate. To help you do just that, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most sought-after skills among employers.
By developing the skills below, you’ll not only make yourself a desirable applicant but a valuable addition to any workplace.
Being adaptable means you're flexible, open-minded and can quickly change course when necessary.
The ability to adapt to changing situations is critical in any workplace, particularly in the transformative workforce we know today. With new technologies and processes emerging every day, employers are looking for individuals who can quickly accommodate new systems and workflows.
There are many ways to demonstrate adaptability in the workplace. It could be taking on duties that fall outside your usual scope of responsibility to help your team meet a tight deadline. It could be staying calm in the face of a high-pressure, unexpected situation. It could also be finding a new solution to a problem that wasn’t resolved using a previous strategy.
No matter your line of work, you’re sure to have ample opportunities to convey your adaptability.
Employers are always looking for individuals who can communicate clearly to complete tasks like giving presentations, dealing with customers and writing emails. According to LinkedIn, with the rapid increase in remote and hybrid work, communication skills are more important now than ever before.
When it comes to enhancing your overall efficacy in communication, you’ll want to focus on both your written and verbal skills.
To better your written communication skills, ensure that your text has an appropriate tone of voice for its intended audience. For example, when writing an email to your boss, you may use a more formal tone than you would in an email to a colleague. It’s also important to ensure your spelling and grammar are error-free. Browser extensions like Grammarly help improve your skills in this area as they identify mistakes and offer corrections in real time.
When it comes to verbal communication, it’s ideal to speak in a clear, confident and concise manner to ensure your message is well received. You can practise speaking to yourself in the mirror at home or recording voice clips to hear how you sound and identify areas for improvement.
No matter how well you and your colleagues get along, conflict is inevitable. That’s why knowing how to handle conflict constructively and resolve it efficiently is an invaluable skill in the workplace.
Active listening is a key ingredient in resolving conflict effectively; you must be able to retain all the information about the dispute from all parties involved. Emotional regulation is also crucial; you need to remove your own feelings from the equation to be as impartial as possible. You must then be able to use the information presented to you to help find a compromise that works for all parties involved.
You can practise these skills by doing mock scenarios with your friends and giving each other feedback. You can even take online courses to refine your skills even further, such as this affordable course offered by Udemy.
Creativity and design thinking
Creativity involves thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions to problems. It is a key ingredient in the process of design thinking, which refers to the way in which teams understand their users, their challenges and create innovative solutions to their problems.
Design thinking involves five key stages: empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test. To streamline and optimise this process, employers are always looking for individuals who can bring new ideas to the table and challenge the status quo.
You can easily enhance your skills in this area by researching trends and innovations in your industry to stay up to date. It’s also worth looking into customer feedback on existing products and/or services in your sector to identify gaps and brainstorm better solutions.
Digital literacy is a must-have skill in any workplace. Employers are looking for employees who are comfortable working with various kinds of technology and can quickly learn new digital tools and software.
Depending on your area of work, these will differ slightly. However, some examples could include analytics and indexing programs (e.g. Google Analytics, Google Search Console) and/or project/task management tools (e.g. Asana, ClickUp, Trello).
There are various platforms you can use to become more proficient with these tools, many of which are free. Google Skillshop is an excellent resource to learn more about G-Suite and HubSpot Academy offers free courses on a range of marketing topics and tools. If you have a LinkedIn Premium membership, you’ll gain automatic access to LinkedIn Learning, a library of courses led by industry experts in the fields of business, software and more.
Leadership skills are helpful in any workplace, regardless of your position. Employers want individuals who can inspire and motivate others, make tough decisions and lead by example.
Improving your leadership skills can be as simple as harnessing skills and traits you already have. For example, a leader needs to have the capacity to develop practical solutions. With that in mind, prioritise your own sense of pragmatism when solving problems, thinking logically about what is realistic with the resources you have.
Transparency and accountability are also crucial, especially when it comes to leading younger generations. Emerging generations, such as Gen Z, want leaders who are honest and take responsibility for their actions. So, actions as simple as communicating openly and taking accountability for your decisions can go a long way. If you have a plan for tackling a certain project, tell your team about it and seek their input. If you make a mistake, apologise and explain how you’ll do better in the future.
By developing your leadership skills, you can demonstrate your ability to take charge, delegate tasks and effectively manage teams. This is one of the most valuable skills that can accelerate your career trajectory and allow you to fill more senior positions.
Collaborating with others is essential in any workplace, and being a good team player means you can support your colleagues and build strong relationships.
Teams are often made up of people from various backgrounds, particularly with the rise in remote work. You could be collaborating with team members who live in other parts of the world and therefore have a different set of experiences than you do. It’s important to know how to leverage these differences to benefit the company.
Active listening is key in enhancing your teamwork skills; listen carefully to your team members so you can understand and appreciate their perspectives. It’s also important to prioritise equality in team communications; remember that no one contribution is better than the other. This positive and equitable state of mind will help ensure that your teammates feel comfortable and valued.
Time management is the capacity to prioritise tasks, manage your workload and meet deadlines, demonstrating your ability to work efficiently.
A great way to foster strong time management skills is to use technology; for example, you can leverage apps like Notion or set screen time limits on your devices to minimise distractions and improve focus.
Managing your time effectively is a crucial skill that can help you not only stand out to employers but maintain a good work-life balance , too.
Build your skills with the help of Study Melbourne
Study Melbourne is here to support you at every stage of your employment journey - and this includes helping you develop your skills.
At the Study Melbourne Hub, you’ll find a host of resources designed to help you find employmen t and support you in applying for roles.
Study Melbourne also hosts several free events throughout the year, many of which focus on employment and refining your skills in a variety of areas. Check out the Study Melbourne events page for more information.