Candidates are ready for the Next Normal: Employers, are you?

The pandemic had a huge impact on employment, the economy, and the world as we knew it. Most people began to work from home, many for the first time. Because of this, the world of recruitment slowed down considerably, for both candidates and their potential employers. 

But recruitment did not stop entirely. And candidates certainly did not stop thinking about their careers, their skills, and their futures. Michael Page surveyed over 200 job applicants in whole Switzerland to discover their thoughts on their skill sets, training & development, and on what they think the top soft skills employers are looking for today are.   

The results are in, and they might surprise you.  

Candidates are confident in their skills 

One statistic that stands out is a very simple one. We asked our job applicants if they thought they had the skill set they needed for today’s market, and even though 57% are currently unemployed, 91% think they have the skills they need.  

Why is this? We can’t give you an exact answer, but what we can tell you is that this generation of job applicants takes training seriously, whether there is a global health crisis raging or not. 50% of applicants participated in a webinar and a 54% took a training course since the start of the pandemic – but not because of the pandemic, because they usually take trainings.  

37% of applicants explained they did not take any training or attend webinars at all.  


Improve and develop skills for today, and tomorrow 

What were the reasons behind the Michael Page job applicants taking the training? In general, our respondents took training to improve their current skills (63%), develop new skills related to their role (57%), or to prepare for better roles in the future (35%).  

40% of Michael Page applicants used their time to gain knowledge on interesting topics not related to their expertise, perhaps to make themselves seem more rounded when interviewing for a new role.  

14% of our applicants developed new skills not related to their role, supporting the view that some candidates are trying to build up a well-rounded profile for the current job market. Only 15% of our job applicants learnt new skills for certification or exams related to their role.   

To share development or not to share, that is the question 

And the candidate answer is, in general, to share development through their CV (60%), or on social media (34%), with a surprising 23% of applicants not sharing their development at all with other people.  

15% shared their development with their manager in their last role, and 6% shared their development with their HR department. Why does the sharing of skills development seem so fractured? It could come from where the realisation of their skills gap came from, and a recruitment consultancy like Michael Page can help companies identify people with the skills they are looking for, through our assessment processes.  

81% of Michael Page’s job applicants found their skills gap through self-reflection in the context of the job market. This idea is supported by the 47% of respondents who upgraded their skills after comparing themselves to the market.  

It shows that candidates today are capable and happy to judge themselves against the market, and that they feel they have the skills they need to be successful. When we asked our job applicants how their last manager talked about training, only 29% recommended regular training, and just 8% required training once or twice a year.  

With 39% of our job applicants’ last managers not talking at all about training, and 24% considering it optional, it seems as though candidates take their learning and development seriously and are willing to change roles to change this.  

How, when, and where do job applicants want to learn?  

For job applicants in Switzerland, the quality of the training is a key consideration. 45% say the reputation of the training provider is very important, 37% say it is fairly important – but only 15% say the content is more important than the provider.  

Beyond what candidates want, which soft skills do job applicants think their potential future employers are looking for? The top skills the Michael Page job applicants selected are communication and solution finder/problem solver, with 52% each.  

Following this closely is team spirit/teamwork, with 45%, and rounding out the top four is capacity to work under pressure, with 35%. These soft skills highlight that candidates think potential employers are looking for good communicators who work well in a team and can readily solve problems. Is that the candidate you are looking for today?   

If you would like to talk to one of our expert consultants about how Michael Page can help you find the right talent for your organisation, or to talk about the results of our latest survey, get in touch today, here: contact us today.