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Good communication most important skill for graduates, employers say

YouGov polled senior decision-makers from small and medium-sized enterprises to discover which skills they felt were important for graduates to possess when applying for a role at their business.

Good communication skills were considered to be important by 69% of those polled, placing them top of the list. Ability to take initiative (57%) ranked second, followed by teamworking skills (52%) and good time management skills (50%).

Good communication skills ranked top across all industries that respondents worked in, but those working in media, marketing, advertising, PR and sales were most likely to say good communication was important (81%).

The ability to speak a foreign language was found to be more important for respondents from businesses with an annual turnover of &pound10 million or more (23%) and also those from the manufacturing industry (13%). Those polled from businesses with an annual turnover of &pound10 million or more were also more likely to highly rate the ability to take initiative (73%) and creative thinking (62%).

Certain regional variations were also seen respondents who mainly work in London were more likely to champion the ability to speak a foreign language (13% vs 10% of all respondents) and good communication skills (78% vs 69%) as important. Respondents who mainly work in the capital were also less likely to say none of the skills listed were important for graduates applying to their organisation (4%).

Dr Erica Polson, visiting professor in MIUC’s Media and Communications Department, said: “It’s clear from the results of this survey that soft skills, such as good communication, team working and time management, are more important to employers than hard skills, such as IT skills and the ability to speak another language.

“University students should be given an opportunity to develop these skills and provided with an environment where they flourish or risk being unprepared for the world of work.

“Certain skills were also more highly prized among by respondents from larger companies - in particular the ability to take initiative and creative thinking. Today’s graduates are entering a highly-competitive job market, making the ability to demonstrate these skills vital.”

Marbella International University Centre (MIUC) is a private academic institution in Marbella, Spain, providing a new kind of learning experience based on an advanced curriculum, cutting-edge technology and a unique living environment.


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