Employers' Perceptions of Key Skills

Dench S, Perryman S, Giles L | Report 349 | Institute for Employment Studies | Jun 1998

The development of a set of Key Skill Units is a central part of government education and training policy. These Units focus on the development of a set of generic, transferable skills. They include: communication, the application of number, IT, working with others, improving own learning and performance, and problem solving.

This study explores employers' needs for and satisfaction with the level of Key Skills held by their employees. It illustrates the importance of all these skills to employers, and generally high levels of satisfaction with their employees' skills (though not necessarily those of the labour force in general). It explores in detail employers' views of the Key Skill Units, and reveals specific concerns about their coverage. General themes also emerge, in particular, questions about the extent of discretion allowed to employees in many jobs, and the true transferability of generic skills.