Top 5 Graduate Employability Skills for Young Professionals to Develop a Future-Ready Career

graduate employability skills

The competition in the job market today is becoming fiercer than ever, to the extent where graduating with a university degree is the bare minimum for a fresh graduate to be competitive. In fact, studies have shown that just being a university graduate does not necessarily indicate that you are job-ready. As a future professional, it is crucial to recognise what other professional skills that you may need to possess to be successful in your chosen career. Not all jobs will require the same skill set, but we have identified that there are some skills and behaviours that are highly valued by the majority of employers in the industry.

In this article, we will share with you some of the key employability skills identified by ICAEW based on their conversations with top employers across the globe that will guide you towards being a successful future leader in your early career.

Employability Skill #1: Commercial Awareness

graduate employability skillsRegardless of the organisation you aspire to work for after graduation, almost every role needs people who have some level of understanding about how a business works as well as the influences on a business that may govern or shape the way in which that business operates. Research has shown that commercially aware people are generally proactive thinkers that can help drive teams and businesses forward by thinking of new ideas, identifying opportunities, helping to reduce the risk for a business, improving process efficiencies, and delivering added value to a company.

This is why having business acumen and being commercially aware is crucial for virtually any role in every organisation around the world. It is not just a skill that is needed for people who are interested in a career in business.

Employability Skill #2: Communication and People Skills

Whether it be verbal or in written format, communication is a highly essential set of skills to master for all business professionals as it gives you the ability to articulate ideas and feelings effectively. In fact, communication can be seen as a collection of skills and abilities rather than just one skill. Good communication and people skills will translate well in a wide range of areas from professional CV and group presentations to writing business proposals, crafting business emails, handling difficult conversations, and even negotiating ideas confidently and effectively with others in a discussion. It helps build great teamwork!

What we have discovered is that people who are effective communicators are increasingly in high demand in all areas of a company – especially in any roles in the business, finance, and accountancy sectors. These are all ‘people-focused businesses’ and the more that core functions are taken over by technology, the more important it will become to have good communication skills.

Employability Skills #3: Problem Solving

The Collins English dictionary defines Problem Solving as the act or process of finding solutions to problems using a scientific or analytical approach.

As a young professional or fresh graduate, you may have the misconception that problem-solving skill is only needed by those in senior positions. After all, they have more responsibilities, as well as the authority to tackle any issues that may arise. However, it turns out that it is a vital everyday skill to demonstrate to an employer how well you can tackle and deal with business issues. In fact, employers like to see good problem-solving skills in their candidates because it also demonstrates to them that you have a range of other competencies such as logic, creativity, resilience, imagination, lateral thinking, and determination.

A fun way to refine your problem-solving ability is through gaming – both online or classic board games. How many times have you played your favourite game and got stuck on the same level for hours, before you finally found a way around it? Putting yourself in a situation, even a fictional one, where you have to think creatively will help you develop the same mindset in your everyday life. You can then apply these skills and behaviours to your professional life too.

graduate employability skills

Employability Skills #4: Emotional Intelligence

‘I think emotional intelligence is key. It’s the difference between someone who’s good and someone who is excellent,’ shared by a partner from the UK. Emotional intelligence is a vital ability that everyone needs in order to understand and manage emotions effectively in the workplace. By enabling this ability, it will create better relationships while encouraging a positive work environment that can provide significant growth to one’s career.

Being able to perceive, reason with, understand and manage the emotions of yourself and others will help adjust your behavior to create a better environment for your client or coworker. As a significant contributor to success in a workplace, improving emotional intelligence can inspire your team and promote a positive work environment for everyone.

Employability Skills #5: Resilience and Adaptability

As students, young professionals, and successful business leaders, some of the most important qualities to have are resilience, determination, and adaptability. By developing resilience and tenacity, one will have the ability to recognize the different stress factors in oneself and find ways to cope with them to be able to bounce back immediately after experiencing adversity.

This is why many employers at the interview stage will ask you questions about how you have coped with stress in the past or how you would deal with a particular hypothetical situation if it ever happened to you. These are common interview questions used to gauge to the type of employee you will be. Like any other skill, resilience and adaptability can be developed over time, which will eventually lead to you being a much happier and more productive employee.

Ultimately, mastering these five skills will be the key to outshining others in the current competitive job market. Begin working on improving these abilities today so you can thrive in a leadership role at a global organisation while driving sustainable growth in an era of rapid change and intense competition.

Looking to Develop Future-Ready Skills and Knowledge? Introducing the ICAEW Global Virtual Skills Conference…

If you are an aspiring young professional or a fresh graduate looking to gain an unfair advantage and outshine others in the current competitive job market, then the ICAEW Global Virtual Skills Conference is for you!

Join the webinar and learn from our panel of international experts and HR professionals, as they share their knowledge and experience to help boost your career development and understand the future of work. Event details are outlined below:

• Event Date: 28th September to 30th September
• Event Time: 9.00 am to 12.30 pm

If you would like to learn more about the event, visit this website. Once you are ready to RSVP, you can register here.


Related: Fresh Graduate to Senior Auditor: How the ICAEW ACA Qualification Led Christie Towards A Successful International Career


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