7 Most In-Demand Skills Employers Look for in Candidates Today

7 Most In-Demand Skills Employers Look for in Candidates Today
By regionaleducationalinstitute | September 10, 2019

At the end of 2018, the QS Intelligence Unit and the Institute of Student Employers produced a summary of their global study looking at the skills gap faced by today’s employers. ‘The Global Skills Gap in the 21st Century’ report revealed that many of the skills employers desperately seek are not easily found.

By comparing the skills required with how satisfied employers were with the quality of their graduate hires in these areas, the report clearly demonstrates where the skills gaps are.

This is useful for job seekers to know. Knowing what employers are looking for and being able to demonstrate your abilities in these areas gives you a clear advantage in the jobs market. It will enable you to choose the right professional courses available in Abu Dhabi so that you can fill in gaps on your resume, ready to land that dream position.

Here are 7 skills that’ll put you ahead.

Soft Skills

You may be well-qualified and have years of experience in your chosen industry, but this may not mean you’re exactly what employers are looking for. The vast majority of employers demand universal soft skills in addition to industry experience and qualifications.

Soft skills are those aspects of personality that affect how you approach your work and your ability to form positive relationships with others. They are hard to teach but can be nurtured with time and a lot of patience.

Equally, they can be hard to prove. Look for examples of times when you demonstrated these skills and work them into your application, resume and interview.

Here are 4 soft skills employers are looking for but have difficulty finding.

Problem Solving

96% of employers look for candidates with problem-solving skills but only two-thirds are satisfied with the skill level of their hires in this area.

You need to demonstrate that you can work logically and analytically, and that you can approach problems from different angles in a system of trial and error. This proves you will be an employee that can work confidently and independently, as well as being able to contribute ideas and solutions in team projects.


Without positive working relationships between colleagues, it is very difficult to achieve common goals and objectives. It’s little wonder it’s the second most in-demand skill according to the survey.

Lots of positive attributes contribute to your ability to work well in a team: emotional intelligence and empathy; being able to compromise and take a step back sometimes; having patience and being able to encourage others.


The report highlights a general dissatisfaction from employers with the level of communication skills, despite them being highly in demand.

Being able to communicate well, both verbally and in written form, is vital. You need to be able to correctly tailor the way you communicate to your audience, be it clients, customers or colleagues.

As well as being clear and concise, whoever you are addressing, you need to be a good listener. You need to be able to ask the right questions too.

Employers see communication skills as the foundation for other important skill areas: teamwork, leadership and customer liaison being prime examples.


Just over half of employers are satisfied that their hires are resilient enough. They want employees who stay motivated and positive when the going gets tough. They want people who will see a project through to its conclusion, no matter how problematic it becomes.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are those that can be learned and proven through qualifications. Every industry will have a particular set of hard skills it requires in its employees. However, there are several hard skills looked for by employers across a wide range of industries.

Here are 3 very much in demand, all of which can be honed with professional courses available in Abu Dhabi:

Data Management and Analysis Skills

In this digitalized world, being able to understand and use data to make informed decisions is becoming an increasingly desirable skill for employers. Data skills are useful across a vast range of fields, from education, to sales, to HR and customer service.

You may need data skills to create presentations, analyze customer behavior, perform web analytics and so much more.

IT Skills

Even at entry-level employment, employers expect you to have basic skills across everyday programs such as Microsoft Office. It is also beneficial if you can demonstrate that you can learn to use software quickly.

Most industries will have specific IT areas where competency is required. It is likely to be worthwhile gaining training and qualifications in these areas. For example, our Cisco training course in Abu Dhabi demonstrates acquired IT skills with a reputable, recognized qualification.


Language skills are in high demand from employers, especially those multi-national companies and those trading across borders.

Being able to demonstrate language skills makes you a desirable candidate. If English is not your first language, an IELTS qualification is a recognized way of demonstrating your abilities in this language.

What next?

Start your job search by ensuring you can prove universal hard skills, such as IT, data and languages. Where you have gaps on your resume, consider taking a course and qualification.

For soft skills, try to nurture these skills through your everyday pursuits: take opportunities to communicate with a wide range of people, for instance, or join a team.

Having the winning combination of hard and soft skills will make you stand out from the crowd. By putting in the effort now to make sure you have a broad range of skills, you’ll have a great chance of stealing a dream role when it opens up.