Most Desired Attributes of Business Graduates

Competition to get into a graduate scheme is fierce; there are often several applicants 100 applicants for 1 open spot. A recent survey by the Financial Times showed what companies see as the most important skills for business students. While people skills and problem-solving skills were at the top of the list, highly specialised skills were less in the focus.

The upside of a business degree is its broad range of use, but since it’s so common graduates need to do a little more to stand out to recruiters. More often, it’s internships or relevant student jobs that you have taken during your studies that set apart the right candidates – mainly because it’s assumed that they already know a little about how a business works on the inside.

The top 10 graduate attributes or ‘employability skills’ in the 2015 Graduate Outlook were:

  1. Interpersonal and communication skills (58.3%)
  2. Cultural alignment/values fit (34.3%)
  3. Emotional intelligence; including self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation (26.2%)
  4. Reasoning and problem-solving skills (22.6%)
  5. Academic results (19.6%)
  6. Work experience (19.1%)
  7. Technical skills (14.4%)
  8. Demonstrated leadership (13.1%)
  9. Extracurricular involvement; for example clubs and societies (7.4%)
  10. Community/volunteer service (1.6%)

As you can see of the most valued skills, the top 4 are soft skills. It is not all about your academics and extracurriculars.

According to a 2017 study by LinkedIn, the soft skills most in demand for junior positions are:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Organisational skills
  3. Teamwork
  4. Creativity
  5. Social skills

To successfully communicate your employability skills to employers, you first need to understand them. There are a range of ways to develop your skills and you need to think about the strategies that work best for you. Here are a number of ways to improve your employability:

  • Work integrated learning (internships/placements/vacation work)
  • Volunteering
  • Leadership programs


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