Are you one of the 8%? (Statistically, probably not…)

Adaptability is one of the skills employers say they need the most, but it’s the one they invest in the least – despite it being the skill employees possess the least.

Only 8% of businesses are focusing on adaptability

Of the seven key skills employers need, Adaptability has become one of the most important. But although it's the skill that employees lack the most, it’s the one employers are developing the least. Say what now? Well, that’s a conclusion based on data from a report by BarclaysLifeSkills.

High Performance Change says: 

One of the most fun parts of the work I do is meeting up with high-calibre, interesting and passionate people who are experts in their field. So if I was having a coffee with this survey, the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Do you think Adaptability is becoming more important as a skill?
Survey: Undoubtedly. 61% of employers think that Adaptability has risen in importance in the last ten years – a higher percentage than for any of the seven skills identified.  

Me: OK, so does that mean that Adaptability is now the single most important skill to have?
Survey: Not quite. 17% of employers rate Creativity as the most important, with Adaptability narrowly behind at 16%.

Me: So is Adaptability poised to become the most important skill in the future?
Survey: Again, not quite. 35% of employers think that Communications will be ‘extremely important’ in the next ten years, with Adaptability runner-up (30%).  

Me: So given that employers believe that the need for Adaptability has surged, is it a skill that employers are now focusing on developing?
Survey: Absolutely not. Only 8% of employers are delivering training in Adaptability – the lowest proportion of any of the seven skills.  

Me: So is that lack of focus and attention because organisations are already as adaptable as they need to be?
Survey: Sadly, no. When capability-tested, more employees (25%) gave incorrect answers about Creativity (25%) and Adaptability (22%) than any of the other skills.  

Me: So where does all that leave us?
Survey: Well, Adaptability is the key skill that employers are developing the least, even though it’s one of the two skills employees possess the least, but is one of the two top skills employers say they need the most.  

Bear in mind also that these results are old. They were generated way back in 2018, in the days of innocence before Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. Back then we hadn’t had these stark wake-up calls that our world is becoming increasingly volatile and unpredictable.  

Which begs a question of our time: What kind of leader would buy into the importance of – and the need to develop – Adaptability, and then do nothing about it?  

I'm an Adaptability Intelligence specialist, so if you’d like to get ahead of the game and join the 8% of employers developing a culture of Adaptability, give him a call on 07873 823 800 or visit

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