What Skills Do Employers Want?

If you are accountant, professional or someone who is working towards a professional qualification you are clearly ambitious.


Over the last 34 years I have been hugely fortunate to work with a whole range of people.  Many of them got the professional qualifications they needed and went on to be really successful in their career.


By the same token I have worked with many people who were bright, excellent in their field but struggled to achieve the success they wanted.


So I recently did a bit of research to see what current thinking was in terms of what employers want.  The list including my own are set out below:




Hiring people is a major investment for an employer.  Sometimes people forget the level of investment that is being made and fall into the trap of going through the motions.  Remember an employer is making a regular payment to you month after month and expects a return for that investment.




Once upon a time if you were, for example, an accountant, you looked after Finance and that was it.  These days it is more than likely that you might be looking after multiple functions, like estates and even IT.  Employers want you to be able to wear different hats.


The Right Attitude


Some are glass half empty (and see the negatives), while others are glass half full (and see the positives).  Employers are looking for people who bring positivity.  They know that it makes a difference to others around them, to motivation and results.


Decision Makers


You need to think before you act.  At the same time you don’t want to be known as Chief Procrastinator.  When we take decisions, we get into action and action leads to results.  While we might not get the perfect result every time, we made significant strides forward and learn.



I am sure that this one is not a surprise.   Employers want people who can communicate in print and in person.  In addition they want people who are willing and able to listen.


Influencing and Persuasion


If you are in any type of functional role, influencing and persuading is what you have to do pretty much every day.  This is definitely not one of those areas which is restricted to marketing and sales.  Ultimately everyone has customers or stakeholders.


Emotional Intelligence


This is not one thing but a combination of things.  According to Daniel Goleman it includes self awareness, self control, relationship management, empathy and motivation.


Problem Solving


In any organisation there are going to be times when problems or challenges arise.  Plenty of people can talk about the problems.  The people who are valued are those who solve or contribute to solving problems.


Team Players


You might be brilliant at what you do.  The trouble is like everyone else you have limited capacity constraint called time.  What that means is you can only achieve so much working alone.  By being someone who works effectively on a team you help achieve more significant results.


What else would you add based on your own experiences?


Duncan Brodie helps accountants and professional people achieve more career success.  Learn more here.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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