Employers Want College Graduates With Superior Soft Skills: Adaptability, Collaboration And Entrepreneurial Mindset In Demand
Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog participated in the BML Leadership Virtual Conclave on Navigating Workplace Turbulence.
The COVID-19 pandemic induced economic crisis has negatively impacted hiring across sectors; a substantial number of organizations have put a freeze on all hiring. In an attempt to understand HR leaders’ perspectives on the evolution of the workplace post-COVID and its impact on employment prospects, BML Munjal University (BMU). The report titled “Navigating Workplace Turbulence” provides a first-hand perspective of HR Heads/CHROs on their outlook vis-a-vis the current status of work, hiring outlook, expectations from new recruits, the role of education in grooming the talent pool, along with the requisite key skills.
The crucial takeaway from the poll is that employers are placing a higher value on soft skills and hands-on experience. Almost half (45%) of the respondents asserted that ‘Adaptability’ is the most important skill universities should look to inculcate in their students. They further emphasized the need for an entrepreneurial mindset and teamwork & collaboration to succeed in a workforce changing in the backdrop of COVID-19. India Inc HR leaders also believe that the new-age educational institutes are better equipped to prepare students for jobs and suggested that courses focusing on life skills, if not already on the curriculum, should be initiated in consultation with industry - 51% suggested offering more courses in life skills in consultation with industry, and a further 22% favour making industry internships mandatory.
On the impact of the current pandemic on hiring sentiments, the study found that a third (32%) of the HR leaders polled are uncertain about the economy, and believe that Covid-19 will have a long-lasting impact, also leading to a prolonged recession. This has a direct bearing on talent acquisition, with more than half (55%) looking to fill only essential positions. IT, Marketing & Sales, and Production/Manufacturing are likely to see an increase in the headcount (at 32%, 25% and 24% respectively.
Commenting on the findings, Akshay Munjal, President, BML Munjal University shared “The world is undergoing a COVID-led transformation, and this is also going to impact the way we work. In addition to increased economic, political and social risks for businesses in general, the current pandemic has particularly focused on organizational talent and HR-related challenges. It has become critical to understand how organisations can prepare for the future, and how talent will need to be groomed to make this happen. With this report, we look in detail at how the workplace might transform in the coming decade.” He further added, “Increasing focus on soft skills training, in education and on the job, has emerged as most important for today’s learners. . To make this possible, it requires a concerted, integrated effort by all stakeholders - students, colleges, employers and industry partners. At BMU, we are committed to creating an unparalleled learning environment, and transforming students into well-rounded, industry ready-individuals.”
Among the challenges faced by HR leaders in India Inc., maintaining employee morale (36%) topped the list, followed by productivity issues (25%). Additionally, the top priority for HR leaders during these times are ‘Balancing Work & Life’, and ‘Internet connectivity’.
Santanil Dasgupta, Director, Career Guidance & Development Centre, BML Munjal University “Industry 4.0 is geared towards revolutionizing the space of work and work of space. With a cognitive transformation towards lifelong learning ability, we can envision a dynamic workspace that creates opportunities to embrace new technology. For employers and employees alike, this would entail assessing future trends of business, aligning one's career to the same and layering the fundamentals of functioning with intelligent technology. Building on the foundations of experiential learning, we, at BML Munjal University, are committed to upskill a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders, who are not only motivated to imbibe the ideals of Industry 4.0 but also that of empathy, compassion and gratitude (ECG), as Tojo Jose (CHRO, Muthoot Fincorp Limited) rightly articulated. We are heartened and encouraged to see the overwhelming response to our Leadership Summit, we look forward to continuing these initiatives to better equip our students and teachers alike and build more meaningful associations with the industry
BML university also hosted a two-day Virtual Leadership Conclave on 21st & 22nd August 2020, addressing the present workplace landscape, and the future of work, in the presence of BML Leadership team, faculty, industry leaders, and government dignitaries. Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, was the keynote speaker at the event. He said, “COVID is one of the biggest crises and challenges the country has faced so far. Leadership has become a need of the hour during the pandemic and they should use the crisis to focus on the sunrise areas expected to grow in the coming years. It is critical for leaders to spend time relentlessly in preparing organisations to understand the value of teamwork and effective communication and resilience. Definition of education will change as the educational institutes will emphasize more on practical skills rather than degrees. Students at BML Munjal University have the capability to produce a group of optimists and competent leaders, who can help to steer the nation towards a better future. Going forward, I urge leaders of tomorrow to think big, think large and think the world as your market”
Over 4500 people registered for the virtual conclave.
BMU undertook the poll over July and August 2020. The survey has received over 140 responses from HR leaders across large companies, medium enterprises, and start-ups, in metros and mini-metros of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana among others. Among the respondents, 75% were male and 25% female.
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