It is generally accepted in businesses all over the world today that, for any business to survive, and thrive, it has to be flexible, adaptable, and able to quickly respond to technological disruption changing customer needs, and increasing competition, often from non-traditional market entrants.
But, while the eye-watering pace of global business evolution and change is widely acknowledged, few commentators appear to have identified that the same requirements of agility, flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness are as much a requirement of employees and managers today as they are of the businesses in which they work.
The simple truth is that, despite massive changes being brought about by artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning, the real business of any organisation today is people. And it is ultimately the people within these organisations who are key to ensuring that its effectiveness and competitiveness are steadily built, on a global scale.
And as the international world of work continues to shrink, it is quite literally opening up a world of opportunities for talented, skilled, and smart employees and managers to make their mark. Of course, global competition for these opportunities is also steadily hotting up, which makes it imperative for graduates to be highly skilled – not only in terms of their specific professional or vocational skills, but across a full spectrum of personal, business, organisational and interpersonal capabilities that make them an appealing employer proposition in any industry.
However, the findings of surveys done by both Bloomberg Businessweek and PayScale (in its 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report) reveal that while businesses are looking for candidates with such a balance of business, technical and soft skills, they are struggling to find them. The research showed that the skills most looked for, but least often found, in their MBA and management recruits are strategic and critical thinking, creative problem-solving, leadership mentality, communication skills and even writing proficiency.
University entrants and professionals seeking further learning and development would therefore be well advised to seek out learning that is designed to go well beyond a merely academic, or knowledge-based, approach to business education. By making sure that your learning delivers real opportunities to acquire and practice the softer skills that growing numbers of global companies need, you not only ensure you become a more effective, well-rounded leader, you also massively enhance your employability on the global business stage.