The world is changing rapidly and many jobs of the 20th Century will not exist by 2025 and the remaining industries will see massive changes. Our students will have careers that we have not yet even thought of and even the traditional professions, such as medicine and engineering, will not look as they do today.
We were delighted to cohost a virtual roundtable event with our partner MICCI (Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry) to consider this very issue.
A taste of the discussion
The panel started by considering what qualities employers most value when recruiting with Dr. Shanton Chang kicking off the discussion with insight about the recruiters he interacts with at The University of Melbourne;
"HR and talent recruiters tell me that even when they find candidates who have the right degrees and the technical skills, at the end of the day they want to know if this is someone they can go to lunch with!"
Do they (candidates) fit with the values, qualities and aspirations of the company?
He continued that qualities are important and that recruiters are looking for candidates who can "Engage in conversation, have initiative, problem solving (skills), to be creative and most importantly take on the values of the organisation."
From his experience Datuk Chris S. Thiagarajah emphasised three essential categories he is looking for when recruiting;
- Integrity and honesty in an individual
- Diligence and hard work
- Skills and talents
He questioned whether business schools were doing enough to educate on the first point of integrity and the need to operate with integrity both personally and within a business environment at all times.
Mr. Shaun Cheah, from the MICCI, continued the discussion talking about the need to find candidates that can offer value to the employer and also highlighted the risk of recruiting on both the candidates side and the business owners. However he did agree that "Employers want it now and want it quick" and that "An all round education is very important. It is not about an education that teaches you that 2+2 is 4 but what you do with the 4."
This idea that the skills learnt in education were only part of the picture employers were looking for was something our student representative, Teresa, felt was being developed in school adding that it was important to show, "What you do with what you learn" when applying to university courses and how the "Wider learning days (at Alice Smith School) helped students look at problems in different ways".
Gavin Lazaro summarised this as, "Not what you are but who you are" and highlighted the core values of the school, "Resilience, respect, integrity, connectedness and kindness" which he believes are fundamental to success in life.
The panel agreed that soft skills are important and provide the differentiator from the qualifications held. As Dr. Chang put it, "Your degree is your passport, it opens doors but doesn't get you through the door."
It's your values that get you through the door
He also sympathised with today's graduate job seekers "I feel that I did maybe 15% of the work looking for a job compared to what they have to do now in this very competitive and ever changing world."
Over the 90 minutes the wide ranging discussion went onto consider what other soft and hard skills are important to employers, the generational differences within the world of work and what makes education valuable.
Want to hear more?
Do you want to find out about Dr. Shanton Chang's 'Loser's Club' or Datuk Chris's experience as a mentor to Harvard Business School students?
Grab a chair and click the link to gain some great gain insights from our fantastic contributors on 'Preparing students for a successful international future'.