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the real world

Employers want three major things from new graduates: writing, language and leadership skills

If you came out at the top of your class, have multiple languages and impressive IT knowledge, you might be in with a chance.

THOUGH IT LOOKS as though companies are, in a general sense, more open to hiring new graduates and paying them a little more money than before, they also appear to be expecting a lot from them.

A survey by GradIreland has shown a sizeable leap in the number of firms predicting they will have challenges filling their graduate positions. The biggest problem for them, they say, is in finding people with the right skillsets.

The good news is, the number of companies citing this as a challenge is down considerably from last year – a drop from 74% to just over 52% this year. The same can be said for struggling to find candidates with the right qualifications.

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So, what are they looking for?

The survey shows that employers are, unsurprisingly, looking for the full package so graduates looking to bag a position have to tick all of the core competency boxes as well as having an impressive academic record and, ideally, some previous experience.

As for the reported gap in skills, GradIreland said soft skills, the everyday people skills that make people deliver, are often the areas where employers feel graduates are lacking.

Other areas include learning management, motivation and the ability to work independently.

When it comes to hard skills, a lack of fluency in a foreign language is now recognised by 43% of employers as the number one shortfall, followed by leadership skills and writing skills.

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There has been a shift in the way companies pre-screen candidates in recent years with 54.5% opting for online application forms as the preferential method. Interestingly, over a quarter of the companies surveyed now use video interviews, which has increased in popularity from 16% last year and just 6% the year before.

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GradIreland said this allows recruiters to maximise efficiencies and also to judge a candidate’s effectiveness in a virtual environment.

So, if you come out top of your class, have multiple languages and extensive IT skills, you’re a shoe-in.

Read: Are you a recent graduate? Here’s where all the jobs are and how much you’ll be paid>

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