What Skills are Employers Looking for in 2017?

Posted by: Mia Lewis Post Date: 22nd December 2016

As a new year rolls around, you may have already considered your resolution for 2017. There will of course be the old clichés – ‘I’m going to hit the gym more!’, ‘I’m going to go gluten free!’, ‘I’m going to stop procrastinating!’

We’ve heard them all before – but one we rarely hear is ‘I’m going to become more employable’. This could mean practising interview technique with tutors, or picking up some new skills. With that in mind, it would be wise to know what employers will be on the lookout for their new starters in 2017. Here are some skills that you will need to demonstrate to catch their eye.

Taking ownership

In a survey of UK recruiters, LinkedIn found that one of the most in-demand soft skill to find in their candidates is ‘ownership’. This means being able to solve problems, and taking full responsibility for your work, deadlines, ideas, and responsibilities.

Of course, as an apprentice you won’t be expected to be a multi-talented super genius, knowing all the ins and outs of your role and the company. But you will be expected to show the dedication to make the role ‘your own’. With this dedication and a motivated attitude, you’ll soon become a well-practised maestro with a particularly useful set of skills.

Being eager to pick up new tasks quickly will eventually mean you’ll take ownership over your position, but of course, the first step is convincing the employer of your driven character in your CV. Click here to get some tips on how you can pull this off.

Digital literacy

Another year will mean more new technological advancements – whether that’s in social media, accounting, or property services. Who knows, we could all be wearing VR headsets to do our jobs by next Christmas!

With youth on your side, employers will be looking for someone who ‘gets’ technology, and can adapt to it quickly.

The key here is – be prepared and do your research. If you wanted to start an accountancy career, what kind of software are you likely to be using? If you’re heading into an administrative role, how good, for example, are your skills in Microsoft Excel?

You don’t have to be an expert in these different programs – that’s one of many things that your apprenticeship will give you. However, having some awareness of what you’re likely to be using before heading to your interview will really impress employers.

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Social skills

As the need for more technical skills continue to grow in demand, the ability to pair them with great communication skills will give you a great advantage.

You don’t have to be the biggest social butterfly in the room, but the confidence to communicate and learn from clients and your own colleagues can help you settle in quickly and will impress your boss.

The key here is jump in without fear – colleagues will know that you’re on a learning curve while on an apprenticeship. You really have nothing to lose by asking questions and speaking to as many people as possible.


Many roles these days are becoming multi-tasked, with a wide range of responsibilities.

Take, for example, a business administration role. On the face of it, you may be picking up administrative skills like filing, photocopying, and sending out post. But depending on the business, you may also end up doing their social media duties, or recruitment-related tasks, or customer service. No two roles are exactly the same!

That means employers are looking for people who are flexible enough to take on tasks that may be completely alien to them.

My best advice is to think of this as a challenge rather than a cause of stress. As an apprentice, getting stuck into new tasks is a real opportunity for you to pick up important life skills, and become multi-talented in a variety of tasks – a real jack of all trades!


It is growing more and more essential that you can show the ability to work within a team, and businesses are looking for someone to fit with the culture of their business.

At apprenticeship level, you could impress employers simply by telling them about school projects that took a lot of teamwork, or even experience with sports teams. But again, this is linked to your social skills – they will want you to be able to adapt quickly, work closely with people, and communicate with your colleagues to overcome any challenges that come your way.

If it’s experience and practical skills you’re looking for, we can offer various routes into the working world.

Enter your details and we’ll get in touch, alternatively, you can call us on
01332 613 688

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