Jobseekers don’t know what employers want

learndirect urges jobseekers to get to know the skills needed to get ahead at work.

  • 88% of employers rate workplace skills as a top priority, yet only 10% of jobseekers consider them important
  • A quarter of unemployed jobseekers say they don’t know how to create a good impression in interviews and 42% of employers say the majority of interviewees fail to impress
  • 38% of jobseekers feel let down by the formal education system as it did not prepare them for the job market

Jobseekers need to brush up how they come across to people and make sure they can work with others to give themselves the best chance of getting a job. New research from learndirect shows employers up and down the country rate being able to blend in effectively at work as a crucial skill when they recruit new staff.

Just one in ten jobseekers think these skills are important to have when starting work, even though 88% of employers say they are a top priority. Now learndirect is urging people to make sure they are confident they come across well at interview and their maths and IT skills are also up to scratch.

Peter Shufflebotham, Head of Learning at learndirect, says in a tough job market being able to stand out from the crowd is essential.

He said: “Employers are looking for people who can fit in and get on with the job from the very start. They want people who can handle customers and give good service. They want people who can get on with colleagues, look presentable and turn up on time.

“”So jobseekers should be doing everything they can to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to do all those things. Without them they are going to really struggle to make an impression. “”We are here to help and, by getting in touch with learndirect, people can start on the road to a successful job hunt straightaway.””

Other findings from the research include:

  • Poor first impressions: jobseekers are failing to impress at the interview stage – a quarter don’t know how to create a good impression
  • Back to basics: jobseekers need to brush up on their basic skills: 40% say poor spelling is the area they have been criticised for the most in previous jobs, whilst 56% of employers rate proficiency in English as a top priority when recruiting
  • Job preparation: jobseekers blame the education system for letting them down with 38% of jobseekers and 37% of employers say schools and colleges need to better prepare students for the job market.

Dawn Stoddard, who has recently been awarded an MBE for her commitment to adult learning, wanted to get back into work after 12 years out of the job market. She said: “I knew my IT skills would hold me back from getting the sort of job I wanted. So I went to learndirect, did some courses and got qualified. The qualification gave me the confidence to apply for jobs and to present myself well at interview. I now work as a tutor and assessor helping other people to learn and I use IT all the time. I would urge anyone to really think about what they need to get a job and stay in job – it definitely worked for me!

This new research was conducted as part of the learndirect Make it Count campaign, which aims to encourage people to learn new skills and get the qualifications they need to improve their job prospects. The findings from the research lend support to recent calls from industry to introduce workplace skills training to the school curriculum.

For more information on the courses available visit or head down to your nearest learndirect centre.

About the research:
Redshift Research was commissioned by learndirect to survey unemployed people (n=2,950) living in England and Wales today to highlight the perception gap between what jobseekers and employers think are the key skills to getting a job. The research took place between 12th December 2011 and 4th January 2012. Business feedback was collated via telephone interviews conducted across a (n=462) medium and large sized companies in December 2011 and (n=76) businesses contacted through Survey Monkey between 5 and 17 January 2012.

For more information please contact or call 0207 0256585