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Almost half of companies struggle to find skilled workers

Digitisation and automation are driving significant change in the skills businesses look for in professionals, according to recruitment specialist Robert Half UK.

Almost half of companies (49%) are struggling to find staff with the right skills for the job. As a result, one fifth (21%) are now looking to recruit candidates with exceptional soft skills, with a view to developing the desired technical skills on the job.

In the Robert Half research, UK business leaders consider an openness to new ideas (28%), an openness to change (26%) and good communication abilities (19%) as key attributes and will prioritise these areas when considering new talent.

The top five employee characteristics according to

UK business leaders

Openness to new ideas28%
Openness to change26%
Communication skills19%
Collaboration/team spirit11%
Flexibility7%

“Digitisation and automation are rapidly evolving the business world. Companies are having to quickly adapt to the changing world of work, and are looking for employees who can keep pace,” says Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “It’s no longer enough to simply execute on the day-to-day tasks. Being adaptable, collaborative and open to innovation and change are vital employee characteristics for modern organisations. As the skills shortage continues to tighten, businesses looking to tap into a wider talent pool need to consider the long-term value a candidate’s attitude and soft skills can bring to a role.”

Weston added, “For candidates this means it’s simply not enough to have qualifications listed on your CV. You must demonstrate these softer skills on paper and in a job interview if you want to get the role that will help you achieve your long-term career success.”