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Top Eight Skills Employers are Looking For

Man prepares a beverage while working

The job market has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. The skills that employers look for now are centred around flexibility and adaptability, as jobs become more open-ended, and less prescribed. New technologies have also changed workplaces, so the ability to use them is a must. Because of these changes, so-called “soft” skills – those which are more personal qualities that allow employees to be able to pick new things up quickly or communicate well with people – are seeing an increase in demand. That being said, certain specific “hard” skills will always be needed. These eight skills are what employers are looking for when they’re recruiting. If these sound like you, you’re probably well on your way to getting employed.



Time and time again, employers tell us they’re looking for candidates who are good at listening and talking. This skill helps employees to understand what they need to do, solve problems with supervisors, and collaborate with teammates on projects. In New Zealand, it’s important to be able to communicate properly in English, and sometimes in Te Reo Maori or New Zealand Sign Language depending on the job. Communication is especially important in customer facing industries, which is why it’s a big part of our travel and tourism courses.



Being able to organise and inspire people towards a common goal isn’t just for managerial roles. Increasingly, all employees are required to show leadership in certain situations, even if they’re small. Employers feel confident in candidates who they know can step up and lead when the time is right.


Literacy and numeracy

Every job requires reading and writing in some form. Sending emails, reading instructions and regulations, or writing reports are common ways literacy is needed. Mathematics helps employees deal with invoicing, measurements, tax – you name it, reading, writing and maths are absolutely everywhere.


Being able to drive

This doesn’t apply to all jobs, but a driver’s license is often a requirement for job candidates. Some jobs – forklift drivers or tourism operators for example – require specific extra classes of endorsements on their licenses, so it’s crucial to get these before applying, unless the job is willing to sponsor you to sit those tests.


Being computer savvy

As industries become increasingly digital, having good computing skills is a must. Not everyone needs to be a programmer, but knowing your way around basic software, as well as being familiar with mobile devices like phones and tablets, is a great suite of skills that lend themselves to virtually any job.


Industry-specific skills

Employers love general skills that make candidates adaptable, but in most industries, there is some level of industry-specific training that needs to be completed. For example, when taking a hospitality course, students learn specifically about how to handle food and beverages, manage establishments and serve customers. Along the way, they can pick up qualifications the government requires people to have to do certain jobs, like the Liquor Control Qualification for bar managers.


The ability to learn

Employers like to see candidates have completed an educational qualification, even if it’s not specifically related to their industry. This is because many jobs require employees to learn new skills and gain knowledge while they work, so a qualification is seen as evidence of a candidate’s ability to do that.


Problem solving skills

Managers are always busy, no matter what industry they’re in. Their favourite kind of employees are those who can solve problems on their own, since that lessens the burden on them. The ability to apply logic and focus to a problem to find solutions is widely applicable over a range of jobs – you’ll almost always come across unexpected problems, no matter what job you do, so being able to take them head on is a great skill to have.

Is your skill-set readily employable?

If you want to expand and enhance your skill set to get that job you really want, taking a course is a great option. Here at Crown Institute of Studies, we offer courses in a range of disciplines to suit your personality and strengths. Most importantly, you’ll get work experience while you study, so our courses are great for those who like to get out and experience things first hand. To hear about our options and talk about how our courses can work for you, contact us today.