The 5 key employability skills we should all know

Jo Lane

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Employability skills - everyone needs them, young or old, however, employability skills are not learnt from a textbook or training manual. Employability skills, or soft skills as they are often referred to, are developed by ‘doing’.

There are many skills which will help individuals ensure success in the workplace and in the blog below we consider five of the main skills employers’ state they look for when recruiting staff into their business.


Probably viewed as one of the most important skills of all, the ability to communicate effectively is essential for success in the workplace. Communication takes on a number of forms: verbal, non-verbal, listening and written forms of communication.

Interpersonal skills also come under this banner and include the ability to engage effectively with different stakeholders within an organisation, regardless of position, role, age or ability. Many of us will work in organisations with a diverse workforce, therefore the need for interpersonal skills is vital.



Teamwork is important in almost every working environment and the key to success here is to have the ability to get on with all member of the team. Sharing the workload within a team is an important factor of a successful team and allocating roles and responsibilities to team members with the correct set of skills should ensure sure team tasks are carried out effectively.

Collaboration, managing expectations, reliability, conflict management and professionalism are all part of the skill set required to be an effective team player.

Problem Solving

No matter how organised, prepared, thorough and attentive you are, sometimes things just go wrong. Having the ability to deal with problems when they occur is a vital skill within a business. No-one wants to work with a panic-stricken employee.

When things go wrong you want to be able to step up to the challenge of solving a problem. Problem-solving often requires another key employability skill, creativity. When problems occur you need to think creatively about the possible solutions and once a solution has been found, you need to be able to implement the plan.

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The workplace needs leaders and managers and the skills required for these roles are a combination of the other skills listed above. Good leaders have excellent communication skills, are great problem solvers and can work effectively as part of a team, even if they are leading the team.

Leaders will have different styles, but the key skills listed above are the key strengths that underpin a good leader or manager and will ensure they have the respect of others in the organisation.

Personal Management

Life is hectic and many of us have to juggle a demanding job with a busy home life. Regardless of whether you are starting your first job or progressing up the career ladder, personal management is a key skill in ensuring you achieve a healthy work/life balance.

Working smarter is key here and organisation skills are at the forefront of achieving this. Equally important is discipline. Discipline helps employees stick to a plan in order to prioritise and work efficiently and effectively. Too much time is wasted in the workplace and I believe we are all guilty of focusing on the wrong task and wasting time. Planning and discipline will provide the structure required to minimise time wasting and increase productivity at work.



About our Community Expert

JoLane_BlueCircle_CommunityExpert-1Jo Lane
Head of Careers at The Windsor Boys' School

Over 8 years of experience in educational settings including FE colleges and secondary schools. Prior to entering education she worked at the Financial Times in a sales and marketing role before deciding to embark on a career change.

Teaching business whilst completing her part-time PGCE at Greenwich University, she transferred her business skills into the classroom and these skills resulted in her providing students with a range of vocational learning experiences linked to the curriculum, including setting up businesses and creating a youth music festival for local performers.

Building on her experience of working in The City, she has established excellent links with local and national employers who provide valuable career opportunities for her pupils, including work experience, employability sessions and apprenticeships. She is motivated to provide pupils or all abilities with the opportunity to be successful in school and helping them secure the right path for their future career.

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