Almost half of companies struggle to find skilled workers

Digitisation and automation are driving significant change in the skills businesses look for in professionals, according to new research by Robert Half UK. 

•    49% of businesses are struggling to find staff with the right skills for the job
•    Openness to new ideas, openness to change and communication skills are top attributes companies will look for in 2018
•    UK skills shift as organisations digitise and automate operations 

London, UK – 13th June 2018 – Digitisation and automation are driving significant change in the skills businesses look for in professionals, according to recruitment specialist Robert Half UK. 

Almost half of companies (49%) are struggling to find staff with the right skills for the job. As a result, one fifth (21%) are now looking to recruit candidates with exceptional soft skills, with a view to developing the desired technical skills on the job.

In the Robert Half research, UK business leaders consider an openness to new ideas (28%), an openness to change (26%) and good communication abilities (19%) as key attributes and will prioritise these areas when considering new talent.

The top five employee characteristics according to UK business leaders

Openess to new ideas 28%
Openess to change 26%
Communication skills 19%
Collaboration/team spirit 11%
Flexibility 7%

“Digitisation and automation are rapidly evolving the business world. Companies are having to quickly adapt to the changing world of work, and are looking for employees who can keep pace,” says Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “It’s no longer enough to simply execute on the day-to-day tasks. Being adaptable, collaborative and open to innovation and change are vital employee characteristics for modern organisations. As the skills shortage continues to tighten, businesses looking to tap into a wider talent pool need to consider the long-term value a candidate’s attitude and soft skills can bring to a role.” 

Weston added, “For candidates this means it’s simply not enough to have qualifications listed on your CV. You must demonstrate these softer skills on paper and in a job interview if you want to get the role that will help you achieve your long-term career success.” 

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Research methodology 
The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm among 500 senior decision-makers in businesses in the UK. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2017). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.