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Preparing for careers

In this step, we will look further into some of the key messages about careers and focus on how you need to prepare for the world of work.

What were the key points you noted from the previous video, and what do you think these could mean for you now and in the future? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section at the end.

Now read the article below. We’ve expanded on some of the points made, to include insight from some employer surveys and reports.

A key message is that you need to understand the new knowledge, skills, and abilities that you will need to develop. You will need to be adaptable, flexible, willing to up-skill, and motivated to adjust to different work environments.

What level of skills and qualifications do employers want in the future?

  • There will be an increasing demand for higher skilled workers across the world. In the UK, there will be more jobs requiring higher level skills and fewer in lower skilled employment.

  • By 2022, it’s anticipated that over half the jobs will be in managerial or professional positions, which means more people will need to have gained some level of higher education, whether through an apprenticeship, college or university study.

  • Technology will increasingly be central to every work environment and technological developments will continue to change the ways businesses and people work. This means employees will need to continue to up-skill and be prepared to adapt as business needs change.

  • To find out more, download the ‘Skills employers are looking for’ resource here. It gives more information about the skills and knowledge you may need and how you can develop them. There’s also some more links at the bottom to key information.

Does it matter what degree subject I take and where I study?

  • Across the UK, employers report that it is difficult to recruit people with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills at all levels.
  • 40% of employers surveyed said that they preferred to recruit graduates with a STEM subject and 19% of employers preferred a business related subject. Having foreign language skills is also highly valued.
  • Many employers do not have any preference for a degree subject, but two thirds of employers recently surveyed said the degree grade is a factor in recruitment decisions.
  • Only 17% of employers said the university attended was one of their top three considerations.
  • Important: Some careers and professions do require specific degrees, subjects, or other qualifications, so always check before choosing your degree if you have a particular career in mind.
  • When recruiting school and college leavers, businesses do value qualifications as they demonstrate effort, capability and readiness to learn. Most employers either have no particular preference between academic and vocational qualifications (48%) or prefer recruits to hold a mix of both (31%).

What does it take to get hired?

  • When it comes to recruiting, employers often see the attitudes and aptitudes of applicants as more important than their formal qualifications.
  • Although some technical and basic skills are required to get past the initial application stage, personal qualities, attitudes, and general aptitudes are then seen as far more critical.
  • Resilience is frequently identified by employers as an essential quality they’re looking for in the young people they recruit – to be able to cope with set-backs and criticism, to be motivated to overcome obstacles, and to stay calm under pressure.
  • Crucial to the decision to recruit a young person is a positive attitude to work, punctuality, flexibility, verbal communication skills, and the ability to network.
  • Nearly half of employers surveyed said that they had not hired a young person because they felt they did not have the right attitude.

Is work experience important?

  • Having relevant work experience or having taken up a placement related to the sector are important advantages for young people looking for career openings. Employers recognise relevant work experience because it helps recruits be prepared for work and develops general business awareness. Importantly, a third of employers felt that applicants did not have a satisfactory level of knowledge about their chosen career or job.

Where can I find out more about careers?

  • Researching job profiles and using labour market information (LMI) can really help you understand the trends which are shaping future jobs. You can download the ‘Careers information sources’ resource here which gives a range of websites and sources which you may find useful. We also provide a sample of the kind of LMI you can find here..

  • You can download the ‘Skills employers are looking for’ resource here. It gives more information about the skills and knowledge you may need, how you can develop them and how to get work experience.

  • Remember, it’s important to always check the job profiles of any specific careers you’re aiming for to see if there are any particular qualifications, subjects, and grades you may require to enter the career area.

  • Finally, there will undoubtedly be jobs around by 2030 that don’t exist yet. Going back just 20 years, no one predicted current jobs like social media manager, offshore wind farm engineer, or web architect would exist. So, the world of work will continue to evolve and develop.

There are links to more resources and insight into future careers and jobs in the section below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons