How you can benefit from the UK skills shortage

Career Advice
20 September 2016 | Career Advice | Guest Author




According to a report released by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, there’s currently a chronic shortage of skilled workers within the UK. For example, the construction sector, which contributes nearly £90bn to the UK economy and more than a million jobs is suffering desperately. The likes of our engineering, healthcare and even design industries are also struggling to cope with the lack of suitable candidates who are applying to fill vacancies. But what does this have to do with you? Well, with companies desperately looking to recruit ambitious people who are interested in developing their skillsets, the skills shortage could make your post-university job search a whole lot easier — if you consider pursuing a career in any of the affected sectors, that is.

Here are our tips for taking advantage of the UK’s skills shortage and bagging a job at a company that’s sure to value your work.

Learn to identify your skills

You might have a degree, but you can offer employers so much more. Look at previous jobs you might have had, extra-curricular activities you’ve participated in, and projects you’ve worked on throughout your education. You should then think about the responsibilities you were given at any of these points and analyse them in terms of the skills they required. For example, if you’ve worked in a customer service role then you’re likely to be good at communicating with different kinds of people. Or, if you helped to manage your university’s football team, you’ll have developed leadership skills. All of these things are important could prove helpful in landing you a job.

Transferable skills are those that you develop in work or life that you can apply to any job you go for, and it’s important you know exactly what you can offer a potential employer.

Sharpen your ability to describe your skills

Once you’ve determine which skills you have, you should hone your ability to describe them. When you’re invited to an interview you’ll be expected to talk about your experience, so it’s best to have examples in mind of where you’ve demonstrated your abilities.

Also, a great way to convey your skills is by putting together a portfolio of work you’ve done in the past. This can be online or in a physical folder and should contain anything you’ve worked on that’s relevant to the kinds of jobs you’re applying for.

Know which skills are in demand and which jobs require them

Be sure to research the jobs market in terms of what skills are in demand and which jobs require them, as this will give you an idea of which sectors will be most likely to hire you.

Caroline Wilson, the HR Director at home security company Evander, says: “The skills shortage poses a problem for employers, but young people can turn the situation to their advantage — where there is a shortage of basic and important skills, there are far more opportunities available to those who have them. If you identify and cultivate your skillset based on your career goals while keeping track of which skills are most in demand, you’ll likely find it much easier to get ahead in your chosen sector.”

Seek new opportunities to learn on the job

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the likes of engineering, construction or finance but don’t have a relevant degree, try contacting companies to register your interest and ask whether they would be willing to train you. In the midst of a skills shortage, businesses are more willing to recruit people who have the right attitude, even if they’re not completely qualified. So, showing that you can use your initiative and be pro-active will present you in a fantastic light and could land you a fantastic job.

While the UK’s skills shortage is a negative situation overall, it does mean there are more opportunities for graduates to find employment — as long as they’re looking in the right places. So, if you’re willing to work in an industry that’s currently underpopulated, securing a job should be a lot easier. Just follow our tips and you’re sure to succeed.

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