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Employment Skills Survey

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This report is the result of a survey undertaken in December of 2006 by Victoria Careers and Employment. Our objective was to identify the ten (10) most requested skills and attributes which employers look for in new graduates. Employers were asked to rank in order of priority 24 skills/attributes which have been most commonly requested in previous years. The following is a summary of the results of this survey. The full report can be downloaded here (140KB PDF)

Top 10 Skills/Attributes Sought After in University Graduates

The following is a listing of the top 10 skills/attributes identified by employers in this survey.

  1. Strong Interpersonal Skills
  2. Strong Verbal Communication Skills
  3. Strong Written Communication Skills
  4. Flexible and Adaptable "Can Do" Attitude
  5. Sound Academic Achievement
  6. Self-Motivated/Self-Starter
  7. Team Player
  8. Energy and Enthusiasm
  9. Problem Solving Skills
  10. Analytical and Conceptual Skills

Additional skills and attributes identified by employers included:

  1. Well-rounded individuals - a balance of study, work and other interests
  2. Social employees that get on well with others
  3. Organisational skills
  4. Learning agility

Multi-skilled graduates highly sought after

This survey illustrates that it is the combination of certain skills and attributes which is the key to employability. Some employers vary the emphasis on different skills/attributes according to the position to be filled and not all recruiting staff within the same organisation would neccessarily agree upon the same ranking. Consequently, the best approach to the top 10 skills/attributes is to view them collectively rather than individually. The rankings in this report can only provide a general guideline for new graduates, although a very valuable one.

There were no significant differences in the rankings received by the private sector versus those received by the public sector. However, academic strength and strong written communication skills continue to be more highly prized by government agencies than by the private sector, which placed more emphasis on energy and enthusiasm and commercial awareness/business acumen.

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International Comparison

Similar surveys have been carried out in Ireland and Australia. Caution should be taken when comparing the international surveys to the Victoria University Skills Survey as differences in the questions asked and the methodology employed will have had an effect on the results. The University of Dublin surveyed employers in 2003 to identify the transferable skills that employers most value in the workplace. Employers were asked to rank 23 transferable skills.

The top ten skills identified by employers were:

  • Oral communication
  • Team work
  • Customer service
  • Time management
  • Written communication
  • Coping with multiple tasks
  • Problem solving
  • Managing one's own learning
  • Planning
  • Decision making

Graduate Careers Australia conducted a survey of employers in Australia and New Zealand during 2006.

The top ten skills/attributes identified by employers were:

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills (written and oral)
  • Academic Qualifications
  • Work Experience
  • Leadership Skills
  • Passion/Knowledge of Industry/Drive Commitment/Attitude
  • Teamwork Skills
  • Critical Reasoning and Analytical Skills/Problem solving/Technical skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Intra and Extra Curricula Activities
  • Cultural Alignment/Value Skills

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Further Information

For further information or to discuss any aspects of this report please contact:

Elizabeth Medford
Careers and Employment
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Tel: 04 463 5390