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Editorial Team
08 Feb 2021



Why the business world needs transferable skills post COVID-19

Transferable skills

From essential technical skills for job applicants, the spotlight is on transferable skills in the post-coronavirus era. Companies and employees must sit up and take notice.

The numbers speak… and they speak loud! COVID-19 has displaced many workers across the world, and a survey of displaced workers found the following:

What displaced workers worry about

This is a matter of concern, as transferable skills are important.

  • 74% of UK employers treat transferable skills at par with or above hard technical skills.
  • Nearly 80% of employers who responded to the 2018 MRI Network Performance Management Study strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that they were more likely to offer jobs to people lacking industry experience but possessing strong transferable skills.

Clearly, to get the right transferable skills on board, you must understand what such skills are and how to find them.

What are transferable skills?

These are skills not particular to a specific job or industry. A candidate carries a transferable skill to every job, industry, or circumstance he or she works in. This could be good teamwork skills, being a good listener, or anything else useful at a workplace. Experience of work on different projects and in different environments is a great source of picking up transferable skills useful everywhere.

Transferable skills are not as simple as they may seem. Time and experience play critical roles when you want to bulk up these skills, and they serve you in good stead at or outside the workplace.

How has the pandemic affected the demand for transferable skills?

COVID-19 has brought transferable skills into sharp focus. Why? Certain industries cut back on their hiring and even let go of people, while others maintained their pace. This brought a lot of people into the situation of looking for a job outside their previous industries, and they could potentially be great hires due to their valuable transferable skills.

The pandemic has, for this reason, put the roles of CHROs and other HR leaders in the spotlight. No longer operating within familiar situations and policies, the situation has placed heavy demands on HR leaders, who must play their parts in keeping operations viable with a motivated, healthy workforce.

Take a look at the most-searched-for skills:

Skills with largest search volume

Correspondingly, in the same period, the following skills saw the sharpest declines in search volumes:

skills with largest search volume falls from dec

What makes transferable skills so important?

The world is far more fluid and flexible than it ever was, and professionals cannot afford to sit still. New job roles keep coming up, and leadership, listening, and teamwork are high on priorities for employers. Hiring for transferable skills brings driven and motivated people on board, who want to leverage their experience and take on exciting, new projects.

What are the most important transferable skills? Here’s a quick list:












How do you develop and find transferable skills?

There is clearly a lot of work for employees to do if they are to show they have good transferable skills. It helps to remove job titles from job roles, and highlight the underlying skills and responsibilities. Do not stay bounded to a particular industry, and be confident when approaching a difficult situation as your skills can and will get you through it. And always play up – or play well – your soft skills on your job applications – they are important!

If you are looking for candidates with transferable skills, how should you go about it? Here’s a quick roadmap:

As an employer, you also need to attract candidates with the right transferable skills. Determine exactly the skills you need, in accordance with open roles. Write a to-the-point job post, highlighting the importance of skills over experience. Polish your Career site, highlighting opportunities for training and development. Use online assessment tools and focused interviews to evaluate the skills a candidate possesses.

The last word…

Transferable skills bring in a wider talent pool with skills that last. Choosing the right assessment and recruitment methods remains critical, as you will then find just the right person you need – for the short and long term!

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