What to expect in the job market right now

The job seeker market and employment landscape is changing, constantly.

If you’re a recent graduate, here is what you need to know about the skills you need, what employers are looking for, and what to prepare for when you start sending out your applications.

PE works with a number of businesses in Australia – from large corporations, start up’s and not-for-profit organisations. While some the core functions of these businesses are similar, how they operate is very different, and the people they want to hire aren’t cookie-cutter employees that would fit in a workplace elsewhere. One of the key themes we are seeing employers looking to test is the ability for graduates to learn new skills. The typical profile of a graduate is a base level of technical skills from their degree, limited hands on experience, bucket loads enthusiasm and a strong desire to start kick start their careers.

In the Accounting industry we are seeing more and more processes being automated, with people being deployed to focus on the customer (internal stakeholders or external), as well as roles focused on credit collection or financial accounting. These skills aren’t typically taught in university, which is why professional year programs continue to be a strong avenue of personal and professional growth for graduates.

In the IT industry programming languages are evolving quicker than universities are able to develop the curriculum for. Growth areas like Data and Business Analysis require a specific sets of skills that are often closely linked to the customer – which is different from one company to the next. Building new skills and continuous learning has never been more important in the IT sector, especially for graduates looking to prove themselves to potential employers.

On top of this – soft skills like communication, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership are equally valued as part of recruitment, and the demand is only rising. Technical skills can be taught through courses, self-study and mentorship – but a solid understanding and demonstration of soft skills makes it easier for companies to hire from potential. It’s simple – if you have the right skills, you’re more likely to get an interview and a foot in the door.

The range of skills needed for a graduate to be competitive is a tough benchmark when industries are changing so often. The ability for a graduate to demonstrate their aptitude to learn new skills, and just as importantly, enthusiasm for it, has been demonstrated in the feedback we receive as they interview for internships.

Gone are the days when people would hold jobs for 20+ years. The transient nature of the workforce means it is imperative for everyone to be able to learn new skills, systems and processes. It’s the same challenge faced by companies graduates will work for – the ability to identify talented individuals who can develop within the role is important to address skills shortages and meet the business needs. Not just for the short term but for the future.

By James Pountney, Head of Corporate Partnerships at PE

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