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Everyone’s talking about skills, and for good reason.

Singapore’s WDA will shell out a $1,000 reward to graduate Singaporeans to encourage lifelong learning. In Malaysia, 70% of employers are disappointed with graduates’ “average” standards, attributing this not to academic qualifications, but rather attitudes and communication skills.

Bloomberg’s 2016 job skills report quizzed 1,251 recruiters at 547 companies about the skills they want but can’t find, to identify the following four skills with the most demand-supply gap:

  1. Creative problem solving
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Strategic thinking
  4. Communication skills

In fact, these four skills have remained in the high demand/low supply quadrant since 2014, pointing to the inability of graduates and educational institutes to catch up.

On the other hand, skills that were more commonly found in graduates, yet less desired by recruiters included:

  1. Risk taking
  2. Decision making
  3. Quantitative skills
  4. Entrepreneurship

Having work experience fell in the bracket of “less common, less desired” skills and being able to work collaboratively was listed as a “more common, more desired” skill.

The recruiters surveyed also listed out their number one dream skill by industry, where the resounding winner was “communication skills”, the most wanted in eight of the 11 industries covered:

  1. Chemicals – communication skills (68%)
  2. Consulting – communication skills (72%)
  3. Consumer – leadership skills (70%)
  4. Energy – analytical thinking (82%)
  5. Finance – communication skills (74%)
  6. Healthcare – communication skills (60%)
  7. Manufacturing – communication skills (64%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals – communication skills (74%)
  9. Retail – analytical thinking (67%)
  10. Technology – communication skills (56%)
  11. Transportation – communication skills (80%)
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