Australian Employers Value (Certain) Skills Over Experience, New Study Finds


Turns out, when looking for candidates, employers now value everyday skills over work experience, according to new data by SEEK. Which means that someone who has some important skills relevant to the job, but hasn’t been in the workforce or a specific industry for long would be preferable to someone who lacks in skills, but has been working for awhile.

Specifically, the data found that these three skills were looked at favourably: communication (34% in NSW, 37% in VIC, 42% in QLD), critical thinking (31% in NSW, 29% in VIC, 39% in QLD) and collaboration (29% in NSW, 27% in VIC, 24% in QLD).

Meanwhile, experience in these four areas didn’t appear to be as value by employers: computer literacy (10% in NSW, 12% in VIC, 8% in QLD), negotiation (6% in NSW, 5% in VIC, 3% in QLD) and forecasting or budget management (2% in NSW, 2% in VIC, 1% in QLD).

Interestingly, the data also found that 2 out of 5 (40%) Australians said they are currently seeking a career change — whether it’s a new job, progressing within their current role or moving industries altogether.

But, when it came to selling their skills to land that new role or change industries, nearly half (47%) of Australian job seekers lacked confidence, with the fear of coming across as a’ show-off’ rated as the top reason. Not ideal considering the data noted that employers were eager to hear about candidates’ transferable skills that they may be taking for granted and not mentioning.

So, what’s ahead for candidates and employers in Australia? “We will continue to see many Australians change and explore new roles and industries throughout their careers,” predicts SEEK’s Head of Customer Insights and Strategy, Elyssia Clark.

“Employers are now looking at candidates who may not have the exact experience but have shown how their everyday skills would make them the perfect fit for role. Our latest research shows that more than half (58%) of employers would hire someone without the right experience if they had the right skills.”

The takeaways here: even if you don’t have the years of experience outlined in the job description, it’s still worth applying. Also, don’t be shy about the skills you have — if you know how to do something, share about it.

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