What skills are employers looking for in youth?

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Many employers say they cannot find enough qualified applicants for their entry-level positions even though many young people are struggling to find a job. The lack of critical skills is the main reason why 40% of the employers are struggling to fill these entry-level positions. So what are the skills employers are looking for in candidates?

According to the respondents of the Youth Global Employability Survey, hard skills such as marketing and sales, as well as having a suitable degree, were considered important, but it was soft skills that were considered the most important. Communication and interpersonal skills came up at the top of the list, followed by creativity and innovation, and the willingness to learn. According to these insights, employers seem to emphasize the potential of the candidate together with their professional knowledge of a certain field.

Top 5 skills:

1. Communication skills

2. Creativity and innovation

3. Willingness to learn (fast)

4. Language skills

5. IT and digital media

Millennials have grown up during the digital revolution which has made information from around the world more accessible, and they are characterized by a strong urge to travel the world. Globalization has also hit companies worldwide, and now it is rare that a company will not have interaction with foreign markets. This need for foreign expansion and doing business across borders has also been noticed by employers.

The experiences that most stand out positively in a young person’s CV are exactly the ones needed to succeed in a global environment: foreign languages and international working experience. Academic performance, such as exam results and a university degree, score the lowest marks, and it is all the extra activities and experience a young person gathers throughout their life that makes the difference when looking for a job.

We also asked what are the top skills that differentiate international youth from the locals. According to the insights, the number one difference is that young international talents bring innovation and creativity to the business environment. This may be because they can bring a fresh perspective coming from another culture. Other top skills for international talents were foreign market understanding and language skills. These skills can be especially beneficial for companies looking to expand abroad, and it is difficult for a non-local to possess such profound market understanding.

According to these findings of the Youth Global Employability Survey, young people need to focus on developing soft skills and gathering extra-curricular experience to be more competitive in the labor marketing.

To read more about youth employability in the global market, download the Youth Global Employability Report.

Download the report



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