Companies Demand More Flexible Employees During Downturn

By Andrew Baud

Talent Q research examines what personal attributes employers value the most: 1. Flexibility and openness to change is key requirement in two-thirds of roles 2. Employers urged to recognise and retain people that will see them through the downturn

People assessment firm, Talent Q, has revealed the results of a major survey of employers. Talent Q examined the key personality characteristics sought currently by a wide range of employers for the UK's most heavily recruited roles.

Illustrating the fast-moving set of challenges facing many companies during the current downturn, the survey finds that the key requirement in 65 per cent of roles is for flexibility and openness to change. The top five attributes are as follows:

* Flexible (65%) * Methodical (62%) * Socially-confident (60% * Relaxed (59%) * Communicative (54%)

In addition to ensuring new recruits display these characteristics, employers are being urged by Talent Q to make sure that existing employees with these qualities are identified scientifically, retained and motivated.

In the context of uncertain times, the advice for people looking to get a job, or simply keep their current one, is very clear. With three people chasing every one vacancy, it is essential to display as many of these skills as possible."During the last 12 months we've noticed a big shift in what employers are looking for in recruits," said Alan Bourne, a workplace psychologist at Talent Q.

Companies want to employ people that can absorb the pressure and turn their hand to pretty much anything. It's these employees that will help them to get through the most turbulent times.

What we've noticed though is that while employers are seeking these attributes when recruiting, they are sometimes less rigorous in using the same criteria when reviewing their existing workforce. Talent Q argues that assessing and understanding the characteristics of current employees is also of vital importance.

It's interesting to note that separate research recently published by Talent Q suggests that it is the baby boomers that are likely to be the most adaptable and best equipped to deal with change.

Methodology: Employer research: Talent Q analysed the frequency with which key personality characteristics were sought for over 250 heavily recruited roles across a wide range of employers. All the profiles for roles were current over the last 12 months.

Baby Boomer research: The findin's were based on a comparative study of 3,982 people, consisting of 869 "Baby Boomers" (with an average age of 50), 2,135 "Generation Xs" (average age of 35) and 978 "Generation Ys" (average age of 22). They each completed Talent Q's Dimension profile over the past three years, and were compared against a whole series of personality characteristics.

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