Why transferable skills are key to keeping your business competitive

Why transferable skills are key to keeping your business competitive

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the employment market, with further changes expected as the job retention programme gradually winds down.

For employers looking to recruit over the coming months, this provides the opportunity to think differently about the way they find talent. Increased job losses mean that there are more high-quality workers looking for roles in new sectors. Businesses aiming to remain competitive in a post-COVID world should now be seeking to attract a broader array of skills.

The changing competitive climate

The nature of competition has changed. Competition is no longer just localised; businesses now face challenges from global rivals who can deliver core services more cheaply. This means businesses need to benefit from a greater mix of talent to find innovative solutions to these problems. The COVID crisis is reinforcing this trend.

COVID has also meant that many of the barriers that reduced talent pools are gone. Geographical constraints for hiring have been taken away in some sectors, with office working becoming less important and travel for work no longer a requirement in many instances. New ‘work from home’ opportunities are levelling the playing field for those who may thrive outside of the office environment, including disabled talent.

The retail and hospitality sectors have been the hardest hit during this crisis. In some parts of retail, there has been a 50% drop in the number of vacancies advertised, leading numerous candidates to apply their skills in other sectors.  Growth sectors such as logistics and care work stand to benefit from the customer service and communication skills offered by these candidates.

The power of transferable skills

Businesses shouldn’t be nervous about hiring out of their comfort zone anymore. Government already funds several schemes to help people to retrain into new sectors and acquire skills, including Adult Education Budget programmes and apprenticeship provision. This allows hiring managers to choose candidates based on their attitude to work and learning – as well as their ability to adapt to new surroundings. Hiring managers should also consider being less prescriptive when advertising new vacancies, to access the widest possible talent pool.

Is your business prepared?

The businesses that will succeed and thrive through this crisis will be those that recognise and take advantage of these new opportunities; seeking out candidates from different backgrounds, who offer fresh approaches to the problems the business faces and help to develop innovative solutions.

By Claire Lane

National Employer Engagement Manager

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