With many people in areas such as Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire considering a change in career over the past year, employers and job seekers are increasingly aware of the importance of transferable skills. We discuss the most sought-after transferable skills and a few of the ways they can be used in business.

What are the top transferable skills?

According to several surveys among UK workers over the past year, these are the skills they consider their most valuable:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisation

Recruiters agree and added a few more to their list of top transferable skills:

  • Administration
  • Technology skills
  • Time management
  • Emotional intelligence

Why are transferable skills important and how can you get them?

As you may have figured out, transferable skills are the skills you’ve gained over the years that don’t just pertain to a certain discipline. They are skills that can be useful over a wide range of industries, job roles and projects. And, best of all, they cannot be forgotten or lost.

Transferable skills are gained primarily through life experience, by working with others and being eager and willing to learn. Hence, these skills are important as they determine, in a practical way, your job performance and even a large part of your job satisfaction.

When employers interview similar candidates, their transferable skills are often what makes certain candidates stand out above the rest. Employers have to take into account which transferable skills are lacking in their team or is needed to balance it. Read more on finding the perfect fit for your team with Team-Fit™

Lastly, while some skills cannot be gained through “book-learning”, others you can gain through courses, research and tutorials. For example, you can get new technology skills by learning how to operate certain machinery or mastering new apps. Time management apps and the assistance of colleagues can help you become better at managing your time. A psychology course or reading books regarding business, teamwork and communication can help you improve your emotional intelligence.

How can these skills be used in business?

As previously mentioned, transferable skills can be applied in a myriad of ways. We look at 7 of the top transferable skills and a few of the ways they are used in the workplace:


Communication skills include the ability to communicate with colleagues and clients, understanding briefs, speaking up about challenges or problems and marketing products. In essence, it’s the ability to get your point across clearly, concisely and respectfully.

Emails and face-to-face and/or virtual meetings have become essential for the day-to-day activities of an office. Hence, employers should be looking for candidates with excellent communication skills.

Your type of communication skills will determine which industry you are best suited for. For example, being skilled in written communication could indicate that you are more suited to administration or coordination roles. Spoken communication skills may make you a great addition to the retail, marketing or hospitality sector.

Employees in managing roles need great communication skills to properly delegate employees, explain roles and objectives, settle disputes and form good working relationships and teams.


Being a team player will make you an attractive hire. Most companies require that employees work as part of a team to reach an objective. You need to be able to adapt to a team and their way of working. This is especially important if you end up working remotely. You need to be able to form good working relationships and use these relationships to assist colleagues in completing projects.

Part of teamwork is being able to take responsibility for your assigned tasks, but also to assist colleagues if needed. You need to ascertain when and where your skills will be most useful and be able to step back and let others shine when needed.

Employers usually rank this ability quite high, especially if their team’s roles are very interconnected. That’s why it’s also important for employers to find someone who complements the other members of the team with Team-Fit™.


As the world is increasingly moving into the digital sphere, workers need to keep up with the latest software and technology. In some industries, this may just require you to learn how to work company software. While in others, you’ll need to master new machinery.

These skills are something you can improve by researching new software and apps and exploring them. There is a myriad of tutorials and step-by-step articles on everything from how to send an email to how to format your computer. If you have a specific area of technology you’d like to improve, why not search for a few tutorials, watch them and then practice on your own?

If this sounds daunting, don’t worry, not all industries require you to be a computer boffin. Just make sure that you know the basic office or speciality programs that apply to your job.

Employers in companies that rely heavily on technology are looking for employees who have a good grasp of the software the company uses. Potential candidates who have mastered complicated software from other industries are more likely to master new software or machinery.

Lastly, people with a wide variety of technology skills and a high proficiency, usually like to keep up with new trends. In other words, innovative ways to improve the systems at your company.


Everyone has to do paperwork, whether it’s answering emails or filling in invoices. Administration skills include all essential office skills such as filing, archiving, typing and even how to work the printer.

When you’re good at keeping your files in order, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and make fewer mistakes. There will be fewer opportunities for important files to go missing. In addition, it will cut down on the time it takes you to find relevant information for clients or colleagues.

From an employer’s perspective, administrative skills are essential for several tasks. This includes keeping track of various projects and their progress, the ability to interpret work orders or client briefs, arranging open days or other marketing opportunities.

Attention to detail

Detail-oriented employees are worth their weight in gold in industries where small mistakes can cost big money. This can include the financial industry, auditors, copy editing, engineering and the construction industry. Being meticulous allows fewer mistakes to slip through and will improve project accuracy.

In the hospitality and retail industries, paying minute attention to customers can mean the difference between a repeat customer or a bad online review. Employees that pay attention to detail will be able to better tend to customers’ needs.


A close companion to administrative skills, organisational skills are essential for employees to keep track of their projects, clients and deadlines. It can be applied to the running of an office or even just keeping a desk tidy so that employees can work more efficiently.

Organisational skills are also essential when planning project launches or marketing, preparing for and conducting meetings and presentations.

These kinds of skills are essential to manage projects and to juggle multiple tasks and projects effectively.

Time management

When you have tight deadlines or have to work on multiple projects simultaneously, it’s essential to be able to manage your time effectively. Employees in leadership positions also need to be able to discern if their team is using their time wisely and if projects need to be moved or even scrapped.

Employing good time management means that an employee can allocate and spend the appropriate amount of time on each task or project and complete it in time. Additionally, they can fit in breaks, to ensure that they have time to rest and recharge. This will help avoid overwork and burnout.

Employers can help improve this skill among their employees with time management apps or software. This software can help you optimise the way employees spend their working hours. In other words, it will provide guidelines for employees to work more effectively and better meet deadlines.

Now you know a little more about how transferable skills can be used practically. Your next step should be to make a list of what applies to you as an employee or that are essential for your employees.

Interested in finding out which industries fit your transferable skills? Or which are the transferable skills to look for in potential job candidates? Then contact the experts at Simpson Dean for more information on vacanciesVisit our blog for more information on making the job search easier, transferable skills, improving your remote working systems, and other recruitment news.

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