Some skills are company or role-specific, while others can be utilised in every role you do. Transferable skills develop throughout your career - know what they are and set targets for improving them to maximise your job progression.

Depending on the specific market and economic climate, the soft skills that will be key to drive business success will change. This realisation prompted us to take the temperature of the business world on this important issue by conducting a survey in partnership with Opinium of 500 business leaders. From this research, we have identified the skills that are expected to rise in importance this year, and this is discussed in our guide 21 skills for 2021.

For the most part, however, there are transferable skills that are key at all levels.
Here are some of the most constantly in-demand transferable skills. 


Effective communication is essential in any role. Make records of times when you overcame complex issues through clarifying things with colleagues. Future employers need to know that you are capable of explaining your thoughts to anybody in their company and also able to understand the viewpoints of others.

Organisation and planning

Prioritisation of tasks and time management are key tactics of every job you will do. You need evidence of your administration skills to prove to your next interviewer that you will be able to perform to your full potential and excel in your role.

Motivation and enthusiasm

Your next employer is investing in you, so they need to see that you are enthusiastic about working and motivated in your career. If you are lacking in motivation this may have a negative impact on your work.


Using your own initiative in your job is highly valuable. An employer needs to know that you can think for yourself. Approach this with caution and start small, you have got your whole career to develop your skills. Do not act outside of your authority.


Any employer needs to know that you will be able to work with their other staff to get the job done. Take opportunities to work in groups and communicate with people from every department of the company in order to prove to your next employer that you can get along with everyone and communicate effectively to deliver results.

Leadership skills

Leaders take responsibility and delegate tasks effectively. Most roles involve at least some aspect of leadership, especially beyond the initial stages of your career. Look for opportunities to manage projects and other people as early as possible to begin developing this key transferable skill.

Problem solving

Training can only take you so far, sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you need to figure out a new solution. Make a note when you really have to dig deep and figure something out. Use these examples in your interviews.


You will be expected to specialise in your role to some extent, although understanding the functions of your colleagues’ positions and departments will allow you to work with them better. Being flexible means making time for others and not expecting them to respond to your requests instantly. Look for examples of how your flexible approach to work will benefit the company.


Being able to recognise your areas of weakness is almost as important as developing and using your strengths. Your potential employer needs to know that you realise you are not perfect. If appropriate, mention areas you are keen to develop in your new position as well as presenting the skills you bring to the role.

What's next? 

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