4 Qualities Employers Look For

Your paper degree may get you one foot in the door, but you still need to impress interviewers with the relevant qualities to get that coveted job.
Sarah Si
Sarah Si

According to Oxford Economics’ Global Talent 2021, shifts are taking place in the global market structure. Survey participants identify advances in technology (42%) and globalisation (41%) as well as shifts in labour demographics (38%), customer needs (38%) and competition (38%) as underlying forces that will have the biggest impact on their organisation’s talent requirements in the years ahead.

These developments transform business landscapes around the world and alter both demand and supply of talent as employers begin to look for new skills in employees to manage these disruptions.

Yet, as of the time the survey was released, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has put the global unemployment rate at around 5% – a number that is expected to remain consistent to 2021 – as employers often cannot find people with skills suitable for the positions they are fulfilling, even though they are backed with the relevant paper qualifications.

As the global job market is expected to continue to evolve with growing competition and advancing technologies, another layer of complexity will be added, and firms are quickly switching hiring strategies to meet these challenges.

In this time of business landscape disruptions, these are the four fundamental qualities employers look for in candidates:


Agile and nimble thinking

1. Agile and nimble thinking

  • Ability to deal with complex and challenging issues
  • Innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills
  • An open-mind global thought process developed through experiences with different cultures, personalities and environments
  • Foresight and ability to prepare for different outcomes and scenarios
  • Flexibility in challenging current proposals and offering better solutions

The first step to achieving this

Be a better listener. When you listen to people, market trends and challenges, you will be able to look at all the different perspectives, take in the industry knowledge and provide smart solutions.


Digital skills

2. Digital skills

  • Social media-savvy
  • Data analytics know-hows
  • Experience in industry software and systems
  • Knowledge of coding, programming and development
  • Capabilities in digital design, management and analysis

The first step to achieving this

Adopt a lifelong learning attitude. Take up courses, talks and reading materials that are relevant to your industry and develop your skills in that area.


Global skills

3. Global skills

  • Develop your level of cultural awareness
  • Understand international business
  • Having professional linguistic knowledge to express yourself and communicate with your colleagues and managers
  • Being adaptable and able to work overseas
  • Ability to connect with and manage work relationships with colleagues from diverse backgrounds

The first step to achieving this

Travel overseas and communicate with people from different backgrounds. Chat up new people, attend networking sessions, and make new friends.


Interpersonal and communication skills

4. Interpersonal and communication skills

  • Develop relationship-building and teamwork skills
  • Brainstorming and co-creativity to lead to smart solutions
  • Ability to collaborate and work with others in executing projects and tasks
  • Having networking skills
  • Ability to communicate issues professionally

The first step to achieving this

Make sure you are communicating across different platforms to practise putting your points across. Even though many business meetings are now moved to virtual platforms, do not completely ignore face-to-face interactions.

A varied skillset will only serve you well in your career, and constant upskilling should be part of your professional development. These four fundamental skills are perfect to serve as the base of your upskilling journey – and it is never too late to start developing them now.