Oral communication skills top employers’ wish list

Oral
communication is the most desirable skill in a prospective employee, according
to new research.

The
survey of 300 businesses was commissioned by the Working Group on 14-19 Reform,
which will make final recommendations to the Government on the reform of
secondary education in October 2004.

The
survey shows 26 per cent of employers see oral communication as the most
important skill, with employers in Wales and the transport industry the most
eager to find staff with interpersonal skills.

Ian
Ferguson, one of the Working Group’s employer representatives, said: “Employers
will always seek to recruit individuals with strong literacy and numeracy
skills, but what the results of this survey show is that businesses are
increasingly looking to recruit well-rounded individuals, who are strong
communicators.”

Other
desirable skills identified in the research are:

Personal
management and organisation (18 per cent)


Numeracy (17 per cent)


Literacy (16 per cent)


IT (12 per cent).

The
secretary of state for education and skills established the Working Group on
14-19 Reform in March 2003 to examine how developments in vocational training,
assessment and the qualifications framework can contribute to the successful
and lasting transformation of the 14-19 learning stage.

The
recommendations made by the Working Group on 14-19 Reform will reflect the
needs of businesses in different sectors – as well as other stakeholders, such
as parents, young people, practitioners – who want future employees to be more
prepared for their industry.

By Michael Millar

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