UK business leaders consider the essential skills required for new hires

UK business leaders consider adaptability, resourcefulness and creativity essential skills for new hires

  • 72% of UK business decision-makers say taking a creative approach to problem solving is the most valuable skill graduates can learn
  • Employers want graduates who are not shaken in times of uncertainty and are able to hold their own
  • Societal changes make it difficult for graduates and employers to predict what skills will be needed so being adaptable is key
London, 21 July 2016: New research by the University of Hertfordshire reveals British businesses now consider resourcefulness and adaptability to be of the utmost importance when considering graduate hires.
The findings show close to three quarters (72%) of senior decision-makers consider a creative approach to problem-solving the most beneficial skill for university leavers. 
Being able to hold their own and make decisions when faced with uncertainty (49%) is also now considered to be more valuable than possessing leadership skills (37%), an entrepreneurial spirit (37%) and persuasion or sales skills (27%). 
University of Hertfordshire Pro-Vice Chancellor Julie Newlan MBE said: “These results clearly show the employment landscape is changing fast. Businesses want to employ individuals who are not shaken in times of uncertainty, and are able to hold their own and keep a cool head. Disruptive societal changes make it difficult to predict what skills workers are going to need, which is why today’s graduates need to be intuitive and adaptable in order to find their place in the ever-changing job market. It is down to universities to make sure their students leave armed with the appropriate skills to do this.
“At the University of Hertfordshire, we are passionate about producing business-ready graduates, who have the creativity to succeed in the real world of work – 96% of whom are in work or further study six months after graduating.”
The YouGov research, commissioned by the University of Hertfordshire, surveyed 1,070 senior business decision-makers from across Britain.
The University of Hertfordshire commissioned the research in order to identify if a gap exists between graduate skills and business needs. Pro-Vice Chancellor Newlan recently launched the University’s “Business Ready Britain” campaign, which looks at how today’s graduate skills will shape the future of work.

1. About the University of Hertfordshire:
  • The University’s vision is to be internationally renowned as the UK’s leading business-facing university. It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel.  
  • The University of Hertfordshire is one of the region’s largest employers with over 2,700 staff and a turnover of over £238 million.
  • With a student community of over 24,800 including more than 4,100 overseas students from 100 different countries, the University has a global network of over 210,000 alumni. 
  • It is also one of the top 150 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 150 under 50 rankings 2016.
  • For more information, please visit
2. Methodology:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1070 senior decision makers in businesses of all sizes. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd - 10th May 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB businesses in terms of size (i.e. employees).


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