Why are transferable skills so important?

In the last 10 -15 years the job market has changed significantly and the days of a “job for life” really have been consigned to the past. This has increased the need for all employees to continually update their skills and add new skills to their portfolio. However, we should also consider the contribution that transferable skills can make to an individuals employability. Some of these skills are not always recognised by employees resulting in them not being highlighted when they are looking to make a career change. The examples of transferable skills below are also soft skills so quite generic across all industries and organisations. They should help you to evaluate your own skillset and possibly remind you of a few you didn’t know you had.

Communication (written and verbal)

Skills that are essential in the majority of job roles. Good communication is important in all organisations, and some people are better at it than others. The ability to be clear when conveying information to colleagues and external contacts is often taken for granted, but those who do it well are at a distinct advantage in the workplace.

Problem solving

This skill is needed in many roles. Employees looking to progress in their career will increasingly face problems which need dealing with. The ability of individuals/teams to solve problems quickly and effectively often makes the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful project.

Organisational skills

This skill is essential for employees looking to take on responsibilities for managing people, processes and projects. Even the ability to manage your own diary, which many people take for granted requires basic organisational skills.

Customer service

It’s easy for employees who are not in customer facing roles to brush this one aside as “not my job”. However, in most jobs there are elements of customer service. In many cases this will be internal customers so the interactions may not be seen in that way. In most organisations whole departments deliver support functions which other colleagues (customers) rely on to be able to do their job effectively with IT being a good example.

The transferable skills mentioned above are just a few of the many that exist, but these are some of the most highly valued by employers. Whilst there is no substitute for high level technical skills in our business we are reliant on a high percentage of our staff having good transferable/soft skills necessary to complement them.

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