Business school students about to enter the job market are concerned about their lack of digital skills when it comes to getting a job in “Industry 4.0,” or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to a new poll by EFMD.
The global management development network of academic, business, and public service members polled more than 1,000 students through its online careers platform Highered and found a high level of concern about job prospects in a time of rapid and complex change.
“Employers such as Microsoft, Audi, and Alibaba have been developing Industry 4.0 practices for years,” says Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at Highered, “but it’s clear that business school students feel unprepared for this new reality.”
NEARLY A THIRD SAY THEY LACK NECESSARY DIGITAL SKILLS
The term “Industry 4.0” refers to the digitization of manufacturing, specifically how technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are working together to revolutionize production. Highered asked 1,060 B-school students around the world for their views on getting a job in Industry 4.0, whether they felt prepared, and how their university/B-school was supporting them.
Among the findings:
- 30% fear that they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment in Industry 4.0
- Almost 9 in 10 believe that skills such as data analytics and search engine marketing are now considered “entry-level” requirements
- 71% also believe that senior leaders have a poor understanding of digital skills and Industry 4.0
“We know that the skills needed in many roles have a shorter lifespan than ever before,” Wigmore Alvarez says. “If we are going to help them find jobs in the new digital economy, they need career development and training that’s tailored to employer requirements but is also personalized to their level of skills. Partnerships between universities, business schools and employers will be critical.”
86% SAY DEGREE ALONE NOT ENOUGH
Highered’s study was conducted among 1,060 business school students (undergraduates and postgraduates), representing 111 nationalities living in 96 countries. More than half — 50.5% — of the respondents were female, and 48.3% were male.
Asked to rank skills they lacked most in preparing for Industry 4.0, 30% put “knowledge of digital skills” at number one; 15% cited “data analysis and interpretation” as number one; and 13% said “understanding of new and emerging technology” is number one. The respondents were less worried about a lack of skills in areas such as marketing and HR.
It’s also clear that job seekers believe that they need more than their university studies to land their preferred role. 86% stated that their university degree alone would not be enough to get them a job in their preferred industry. When asked how universities/B-schools could improve to help them get a job, 65% said: “integration of employment skills into degree programs.” This was followed by “opportunities for internships” at 57% and “availability of consulting projects” at 55%.
The survey showed that B-school students are more positive about landing a job than in previous years. Compared to a year ago, nearly half (49%) said they were “more confident” about securing employment. But when asked what emotion best summed up their job search, the top answer was “concerned” (30%), followed by “excited” (20%) and “interested” (16%). More women (18%) than men (13%) reported feeling concerned.
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