Employers are increasingly looking for interpersonal skills such as confidence and entrepreneurial spirit as the most important characteristics when hiring young candidates according to the research from global accounting network RSM International and the European Business Awards.

The survey, comprising of CEOs of large multinational companies and SMEs revealed that over 80% of the 500 business leaders interviewed, highlighted creativity and the ability to diversify as key traits, whilst willingness to take risks scored less highly.

Carmen Watson, managing director at Pertemps Recruitment commented, “Academic qualifications are obviously important but in tough economic times like these, when businesses and corporations are looking for new ideas to give them a competitive edge, advanced interpersonal skills are a sought after asset that will help graduate candidates stand out in a tough employment market.

Empowering the youth with these highly sought after skills remains a key topic. Youth unemployment currently stands at 24%, more than three times the national average of 7.7%. Earlier this week, Citi Group along with 80 other organisations called for employability and entrepreneurship education to be introduced within the national curriculum of UK schools.