New-Age Skills For A Successful Career In Management

As we are progressing towards the new age, the jobs which are routine, repetitive and programmable will ultimately be taken care of by technology.

Prof. Richa Saxena

The advent of new technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), demographic shifts and the impact of external shocks like the current pandemic are radically transforming the way organisations conduct business and the type of skills their talent needs to help them thrive in this new age of work.  In their report on Future of Jobs, 2020 the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that the digital revolution will transform the future of work and the workplace. The report suggests that 50 per cent of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology will increase; and critical thinking and problem-solving will top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years.

The findings of a multi-industry study done by the author on the influence of new-age technology like AI on the work, workers and workplace also resonate with some of the findings of the WEF report. This study was done with senior echelon participants of different industries who are experts in their own fields. The following trends seem to be emergent in the coming time that will have a direct impact on the skill-set expectations from the young Management graduates:

Pervasiveness of technology across industries

The pace with which the new technology is penetrating the business, in no time it will influence almost every industry. As a result, the fresh talent aspiring for any industry will definitely have to be tech-savvy to be able to understand and solve the business issues of their organization and industry. The routine and mundane work are likely to be taken care of by machines, hence the new generation managers will be expected to evolve to a higher and greater understanding and application of business. They are expected not only to be ardent users of technology but also active participants in the design and development of new technological solutions.

A major disruption in the jobs landscape

As we are progressing towards the new age, the jobs which are routine, repetitive and programmable will ultimately be taken care of by technology. So a whole set of current jobs on one side of the spectrum are likely to get extinct in the coming time. However, such job disruption is going to be counter-balanced by job creation in new fields, the ‘jobs of tomorrow’ on the other side of the spectrum. As per the WEF 2020 report over the coming decade, a non-negligible share of newly created jobs will be in wholly new occupations, or existing occupations undergoing significant transformations in terms of their content and skills requirements. The world of work is evolving so fast, meaning these new generation managers will have to figure out how to prepare for a future job role that’s impossible to predict at this juncture.

Emergence of new skill-sets

The most critical question is that with a shift in the jobs landscape, what skills, managerial competencies, and work ethos the young Management graduates should possess so that they stay relevant and play a strategic role in business decision making? The industry experts consider two approaches to be relevant in such a scenario. The first is the generalist approach, wherein these new generation managers acquire cross-functional and trans-disciplinary skills, knowledge, and aptitude through adaptive and cognitive learning, design thinking, collaborative skills, and higher aptitude for problem-solving. It will not be surprising to witness the trend of blending erstwhile unrelated fields like behavioural science combined with data science or genetics combined with computer science/data science. The second is the super-specialist approach, wherein these managers pick the field of their interest and strive to go deeper and deeper in that to become the subject-matter experts (SMEs). Albeit the risks and hazards of both approaches exist, but it is an individual’s prerogative to choose the path they are more confident and comfortable with. The top 10 skills identified by WEF for 2025 fall in the four broad categories of a) Problem Solving Skills like analytical and critical thinking, reasoning, creativity, innovation and complex problem solving; b) Self-Management Skills like active learning and resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility; c) Skills for Working with People like leadership and social influence, and d) Skills for Technology Use and Development. It is clearly visible that the focus is equally on human capabilities like creativity, leadership, emotional intelligence and social skills which will facilitate the human connection for solving multi-variate and complex problems.

Life-long learning

One of the focal areas for these new generation managers should be to invest in their continuous skill development to be contextual and relevant with the changing times. From the vantage point where we are today the future shape of the emergent job families may still not be very clear to us, including things like their impact on the quantum of employability. However, focus on life-long learning needs to be an integral part of the career development strategy of these managers for being successful.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

Tags assigned to this article:
new age skills digitisation upskilling management

Around The World

Our Publications