Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Critical Skills that our Students will Need

A new Towers Watson study "Global Talent 2021" is based on information from a recent global survey of 352 human resource professionals. The report outlines four skill areas that will be in demand over the next 10 years and makes me reflect on the educational curriculum that will need to be in place to support our students in developing these skills.

Digital Skills: Highly skilled technical workers will be needed in a rapidly growing digital economy. Social media already places an emphasis on employing those who have the ability to work in newly developing forms of digital expression and who have marketing literacy. 50.6 percent of the HR professionals who responded to the survey indicated that digital skills would be critical for future workers and 44.9 percent indicated that the ability to work virtually was critical.

Agile Thinking Skills: In an era of ongoing economic and political variability, agile thinking and the ability to design multiple scenarios is going to be vital. Innovative thinking, the ability to deal with complexity and manage what appear to be paradoxical situations, will be critical skills to have in the very near future.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills: The HR professionals believed that co-creativity and brainstorming skills, along with customer relationship building and virtual teaming skills, will be in great demand. They believe that corporations will continue to move from a command-and-control style of management to a more collaborative model. With a wide variety of geographies and cultures represented in stakeholders from around the world, the capacity to align strategic goals, build consensus and build collaboration will be critical needs for corporations.

Global Operating Skills: The ability to work in worldwide markets and manage a diverse set of employees is seen by the HR professionals as the most important operating skill. The ability to understand diverse cultures, their language and customs will be critical in a future where commerce will flow ever more freely across the world.
The report concludes by saying that employees who do not possess these valuable skills will be at a serious competitive disadvantage, and those who do will be the leaders of tomorrow.

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