Skills learnt in your first job are the most important you’ll learn during your career

Whether you once worked in a local restaurant, swept hair at a hairdressers, or served coffee in a coffee shop, a new study carried out by Costa (a study of 1,500 UK employers aged 25+ and 2,500 employees aged 16-25 carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Costa), has revealed the important impact that skills gained in our first job has on our future careers.


According to the high street brand’s research, over a third of people surveyed felt that their first job helped them prepare for their future careers with the employers surveyed stating that the most desirable skills they seek are those inherent within the hospitality industry. 

Costa also reports that it gives 110 young people their first step on the career ladder each week and is committed to promoting over 13,000 team members to the next level. Indeed, it has launched #MyFirstJob workshops to inspire young people into work. 

Over a third of people surveyed felt that their first job helped them to prepare for future roles by providing them with a good grounding in the vital skills of communication, team-working and customer-services which they still use to this day. 


The skills employers look for in new candidates marry with these, with the study revealing that 69% of employers want to ensure their new hire can work well as part of a team and that they have good people skills. Having a likable personality was the third most looked for trait in a potential employee, the survey found, highlighting that it’s important for job seekers to be themselves and be strong face-to-face communicators. 

It’s the people you work with who make your first job so memorable, with 44% of those surveyed saying having fun with their colleagues was the aspect of the job they remember most fondly. In fact, the research suggested that nearly half of Brits are still to this day in touch with people they first worked with. What’s more, nearly half of people surveyed would love the opportunity to meet with their first boss again and show them how they have progressed. 

Future development 

“With over half of our store teams consisting of under-25s, we’re proud to offer opportunities, training and an environment that encourages the development of many of the traits future employers look for in young people across the country,” said Priya Farish, global talent director at Costa. 

“At Costa we give more than 110 young people every week their first step on the career ladder and as team-working, customer service and people skills are vital in our industry all of our team members have the opportunity to build these skills which stands them in good stead for any future career. 

“The research showed that both employers and employees unanimously agreed that if they could give themselves one piece of advice when starting their career, it would be to be more confident and with over half of those surveyed agreeing they would be 

interested in career advice sessions,Costa will pilot free workshops dedicated to helping young people gain confidence in their own abilities and provide coaching on the key skills that employers seek. 

“For some young people working with us at Costa is on a part-time basis to support their studies. We hope that not only will they have a lot of fun, make some great friends and memories and learn some fantastic coffee expertise but that the essential skills they learn with us will set them up for whatever they go on to next. However with university tuition fees rising, a career within the hospitality industry should not be dismissed. 

“At Costa we want to nurture young talent and will promote over 13,000 of our store team members to the next level of seniority in the next four years. Joining us as a part-time barista and developing in our business to regional area manager, say, or a management role within Support Centre is not unusual. In fact, our very own master of coffee once worked part-time in our Gatwick airport store and now oversees the quality of our coffee in over 3,000 stores across 31 international markets.”