From education to employment

What trailblazing employers are doing to boost their recruitment, learning & development, and social responsibility 

Essential skills like teamwork, leadership and problem solving are in strong demand from both employers and employees. But how do you recruit for them transparently and consistently? Once you’ve recruited for a particular component of a skill like teamwork, how do you build it in your employees? And what about the talent pool of the future – how can employers do impactful outreach that supports communities to build these relevant skills?

The latest report from Skills Builder Partnership, a not-for-profit social enterprise, brings employers practical insights on why and how to embed essential skills into their businesses. It draws on years of research by professionals and academics as well as practical experience, with case studies from a range of employers such as PwC and HS2 that have leveraged a structured approach to skills in order to boost their recruitment, learning & development and outreach or CSR.


●      Embedding the Skills Builder approach and a consistent framework for essential skills into recruitment practices drove a 23% improvement in employers being able to recruit candidates with the skills they need. This was due in part to a 29% improvement in employers’ confidence at identifying skills in the recruitment process.

●      “The Universal Framework for essential skills has allowed HR professionals to coach and support managers to identify the essential skills required for success. It has also given us a specific language to communicate these skills.” HR Professional, AKW Group

Learning & development:

●      Employees want to build essential skills. 83% of UK workers would like more opportunities to build essential skills, while 92% believe that they should form part of professional development.

●      89% of employees who were provided with a framework for essential skills in learning & development believe that the structured approach improved their performance, with 75% feeling more engaged in their work.

●      75% of these employees reported an improvement in their essential skill levels. 63% of this improvement was attributed to having a coherent framework that built awareness and confidence.

●      67% of these employees’ managers and talent teams also reported that, after only 6 months, team performance improved thanks to building essential skills using the Skills Builder approach.

●      “The Universal Framework provides a useful basis for professional development discussions with direct reports and highlighting areas for improvement.” Line manager, The Brilliant Club

Outreach and social responsibility:

●      Embedding a framework for essential skills into outreach drove a 17% increase in CSR professionals reporting that their programmes effectively build essential skills, with 100% reporting that it improved their programmes’ impact.

●      Employers using Skills Builder Benchmark – an online platform – to measure pre- and post- programme essential skill levels have seen participants improve rapidly. 98% of participants achieved demonstrable, significant progress in essential skills.

●      “Learning about essential skills made participants more employable and better prepared for the professional world.” CSR manager, Capgemini

●      “Without good transferable skills, I wouldn’t have been able to completely change careers, demonstrate my strengths, have someone take a chance on me, and get into stable employment.” Amber, Kickstart Participant

The report is the latest contribution to a growing body of evidence demonstrating essential skills are critically important to the economy and workforce.

Previous research shows that employees with higher levels of essential skills are by some measures more productive. There is a 12-18% wage premium associated with an increase in essential skill levels. For the average worker, this increase translates into an essential skills annual wage premium of up to £5,900.

Tom Ravenscroft, Founder and CEO of Skills Builder Partnership, commented: “This report’s release is well-timed. Research from McKinsey shows that employers are adapting to a changing work landscape and face a myriad of challenges: from plugging skill gaps, to redeploying talent, to improving employee diversity and wellbeing.

“This paper demonstrates how a structured approach to building essential skills can solve these problems. It highlights some of the incredible progress made by our partner employers in recruitment, learning & development, and outreach. For any employer wondering how to invest in their workforce, the case studies are a fantastic practical resource.”

The full report and case studies are available here.

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