Future-Proofing and Preparing Graduates For the Real World
When you graduated from university, were you proud, confident and felt like you could conquer the corporate world? Even though the square mortarboard you had on your head was symbolic of your knowledge and wisdom, your graduation ceremony was merely the beginning of a life-long process of learning.
The 2019 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) research, [“State of the Workplace”] (https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/Documents/SHRM%20State%20of%20Workplace_Bridging%20the%20Talent%20Gap.pdf) found that the top three missing technical skills were Trade Skills (31%), Data Analysis or Data Science (20%) and Science, Engineering or Medical (18%). On the other hand, the top three missing soft skills were Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Innovation and Creativity (37%), Ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity (32%) and Communication (31%). As a recruiter, you might be silently nodding along to these statistics. As a graduate, now is a good time to whip out your resume and compare what you have on it to this list.
So, why are these skills missing amongst our graduates? Let us take a look at some examples of the undergraduate curriculums or frameworks our universities are teaching:
English for Business (or different forms of Academic Writing)
- The SWOT Analysis
- The 4 P’s of Marketing
- Operations Management
- Organisational Behaviour
- Porter’s Five Forces
Although these are useful and practical frameworks, they have also been around for many decades. As students, you are not learning new skills, curriculums or frameworks that will “future-proof” you and help you navigate through a highly technological world. Our formal education acts as a good basis or foundation, but it is not enough to help you accelerate your careers or to excel at your roles. Other than the technical and soft skills found in the SHRM research, what else are recruiters on the hunt for?
- AI-powered growth management
- Influencer Marketing
- Global Stakeholder Management
- Leading in Emerging Markets
- Big Data and Analytics
The world is constantly evolving and there are new inventions every single day, it is important to not only be able to adapt but to also seize the right opportunities and to have a growth mindset. From this quick analysis, we can see that there is an obvious gap in the supply and demand chain. This has led to an increased rate of unemployment amongst graduates and has also left organizations dry of needed talent. As we now step into the fourth industrial revolution and the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is crucial that you are able to meet the demands of the world, it is also important for organizations to provide opportunities for continuous learning and development.
Furthermore, a report by McKinsey and Company suggests that over 800 million employees globally would be replaced by robots by 2030. Also, according to the Future of Jobs report by World Economic Forum, more than 54% of all employees would be required to significantly upskill or reskill themselves by 2022. As such, depending on formal education will not be enough, you need to also adopt life-long learning and consistent upskilling throughout life.
It might be intimidating to realize these facts, but we can take heart in the fact that learning can be done at the tip of your fingers. Having to reskill and upskill yourselves or your employees is not as overwhelming as it sounds, but can be easily adopted into your daily schedules.