The development of soft skills is the key to employability. Progressive digitization is changing the demands on people.

13.4.2021

By 2025, new technologies will change up to 85 million jobs. Due to the redistribution of work between machines and people, employers will place different demands on their people. In the “ office” sectors, in addition to knowledge of IT, automation and digitization, soft skills, such as creativity, problem-solving ability, leadership skills, innovation or adaptability will also become increasingly important. Companies start to focus on training of soft-skills now. This follows from a survey by ABSL association that brings together business service providers on the Czech market.

Today, employers mainly feel the lack of data analysts, artificial intelligence and digitalization specialists.The lack of them was solved by the global business services sector through corporate education and training. “Thanks to an intensive focus on developing these skills, global business service centers can implement automation and digitization projects on their own in up to 70 % of cases,” explains Jonathan Appleton, ABSL’s director and says: “As technologies take on routine tasks, people’s soft skills are growing in importance. Because of the rapid changes in the character of work, people need to be able to adapt to change, solve non-standard situations and problems, think critically, and communicate. Especially in these days the resistance against stress is very important too.”

Soft skills are based on a person’s personality assumptions, but they can still be well trained. Companies include the training into their development programs too. “An important aspect is also social intelligence, including intercultural competencies and transdisciplinarity, without which the digital society cannot function,” says Jonathan Appleton.

People do not admit the change

Despite the massive adoption of technology, only a few employees are aware that their workload may change significantly in the future. For example, according to a survey by Grafton Recruitment, only 15 % of respondents think so. Nevertheless, employees are aware of the need for continuing education. Employees of business service centers are for example the most interested in managerial skills training, language learning and professional certification. Preferences in educational activities then differ between the employed and the unemployed. While employees place more emphasis on personal development courses, the unemployed focus more on learning hard skills associated with digital skills or data analysis.

Corporate education

Employers are also preparing their people for change. For example, in business services, employers provide their people with 46 hours of training per year, an increase of more than a fifth over four years. Up to 75 % of centers subsidize language courses for their employees and 33 % financially support them in postgraduate studies or other professional courses. ABSL strives to support education and also the overall development and growth of the entire sector with the newly created MBA program specialized in business services.

“There is a growing need to develop managers and expand their qualifications to new areas, whether it is managing people in the digital age, working with data, implementing innovations or development strategies. The program, which we created in collaboration with the University of New York in Prague and the Hackett Institute, will open up very interesting career opportunities for graduates,” explains Jonathan Appleton.

According to him, professional management education in the form of MBA programs is enjoying growing popularity in the Czech Republic and is sought after especially by members of middle and top management. The newly created MBA program is the first and only MBA study focusing on business services available in the Czech Republic and globally. “The main reason for the MBA is to build strategic leaders for our sector. Leaders who are able to identify and seize opportunities to build their global business by providing higher level services, driving digital innovations and leading exceptional talents. Building leaders for the future means building Czech business for the future – and secures a pipeline of growth for the services sector that will keep the country ahead of the global competition,” says Jonathan Appleton.

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