Building A Future-Ready Workforce Through Graduate Skills Development

Building A Future-Ready Workforce Through Graduate Skills Development

According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Future of Jobs Report, problem-solving and interpersonal skills will remain essential workplace skills in the next five years. As employers, investing in graduate skills development is crucial to ensure your workplace is future-ready.

Graduate employees are the driving force behind innovation and technology adoption. To stay ahead, graduates must possess skills like collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, along with characteristics like persistence and initiative.

Nowadays, technological expertise is no longer optional; it's a must-have, even for entry-level positions. Ensuring that your future talent pipeline is equipped to thrive in tomorrow's workplace is good for business.


The main drivers behind the need for graduate skills development


Over a billion jobs worldwide are expected to change due to technology in the next decade. The WEF predicts that by 2025, half of global employees will need new core skills. To understand why, let’s unpack the driving force behind this demand:

  • Rapid digital and technological advancements.
  • Factors like the pandemic and a focus on diversity and sustainability accelerated changes in business models and workplace norms.
  • There is a widening skills gap, with skills becoming outdated faster than ever.
  • The importance of personal growth and adaptability in a changing world


What are the in-demand graduate skills of the future?


For graduates entering the workplace in the next five years to thrive, they will need skills like collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving, as well as character qualities like resilience, curiosity, and initiative, in addition to foundational skills like literacy and numeracy.


The top ten graduate skills of the future:
  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation


These 10 graduate skills are divided into four different categories:



1. Problem-solving

This category is the most extensive one, as it contains five of the most important graduate skills of the future: analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, creativity, originality and initiative, and finally reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation.

The skill of problem-solving and analytical thinking is not something that people are usually born with; rather, it’s a skill that we develop as we evolve in our careers. 

Problem-solving also requires creativity, initiative, and originality. Having a creative and original approach helps to push innovation and to look at problems with a fresh eye and an open mind.


How can an employer encourage the development of this skill?
  • To become better at problem-solving, provide graduate employees with goals, not instructions.
  • Stimulate a culture that appreciates new ideas and creative minds.
  • Create a culture of trust and respect, so graduate employees feel free to show initiative and be critical.


2. Self-management

Mistakes are inevitable. Innovation and failure go hand in hand, and the best innovations rarely come together on the first try. This is why self-management is a category that contains the skills of resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility, as these are the graduate skills needed to continue to maintain a positive mind during difficult or unexpected situations.

One of the other skills suggested by the WEF as part of the self-management category is active learning and learning strategies. This is inevitable as graduate employees grow their professional development through learning. This specific skill has a clear mental component to it, as it is necessary to accept a mistake, learn from it, and to stay calm when you are under stress, thus being able to think clearly.


How can an employer encourage the development of this skill?
  • Promote learning among employees.
  • Through personal learning and development, encourage your graduate employees to acquire new social, cognitive, and motivational skills.
  • Make it clear that mistakes are a necessary component of learning.
  • Cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and personal growth within your organisation.
  • Find the best method to upskill your graduate employees so they can discover their full career potential.
  • Establish a culture where acquiring new skills is rewarded with growth opportunities.


3. Working with people

Leadership and social impact are considered important graduate skills of the future. In the workplace, we constantly interact and collaborate with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders. Soft skills like empathy, conflict resolution, communication, and decision-making are essential to do this successfully.

With the rise of AI and digitalisation, organisations need to strongly focus on the development of soft skills. AI will never be able to replace what makes us human, even though in some situations, it might replace human work functions and tasks. Many routine tasks will become redundant, but emotional intelligence, cooperation, communication skills, and other leadership skills will become increasingly important. These graduate skills are more important than ever, especially now that we work more remotely and hybrid work models are gaining popularity.


How can an employer encourage the development of this skill?
  • Ensure that your team members possess the necessary communication skills to convey ideas and suggestions clearly.
  • Encourage graduate employees to be autonomous and take charge of their roles and responsibilities, as well as their growth and development.
  • Read our article on how you can nurture soft skills in graduates.


4. Technology use and development

The WEF estimates that the world will create 150 million new technology jobs over the next five years, and by 2030, seventy-seven percent of jobs will require digital skills. The future of any industry will be greatly influenced by the ability to use, monitor, and control technology, as well as create and programme it. 

Technology has played a major part in our lives for many years now, and this will only continue to grow at an even faster pace in the future. Data science, AI, machine learning, and deep learning are important graduate skills for jobs that will become increasingly common in the future. Think big data architects, digital marketing specialists, and machine learning engineers. That is why it is very important to focus on employing tech-savvy graduates who have grown up with and know their way around technology.


How can an employer encourage the development of this skill?
  • Enlist the help of your graduate employees and see where there are opportunities within your organisation where tasks can be digitised or optimised.
  • Investigate tools and programmes to expedite projects and manage tasks.
  • Empower your graduate employees to work with smart technologies and abilities that will be relevant in the future.
  • Encourage reverse mentorship. Let your tech-savvy graduate employees assist your more senior employees in embracing technology.


Why is it important to build a future-ready workforce with graduate skills development?


Organisations frequently struggle to take advantage of market opportunities, creative solutions, and change-adapting strategies due to skill shortages. To bridge the skills gap and make sure your business is future-proof, employers should devote all of their attention to the professional development of their graduate employees.

Graduate employees are eager to learn, and they aspire to grow in their careers. Investing in graduate skills development is a powerful way to attract and retain graduate talent. Lack of opportunity to grow within an organisation can lead to the departure of your best graduate employees, which is certainly not what you want while building a future-ready workforce in these times of skill shortages. 


How can we help you be ready for the future?


At RecruitAGraduate, we know that tomorrow’s success will require new and different skills. And that’s a good thing. The pursuit of these skills keeps us fresh and focused on the future, just like our talented graduates.

RecruitAGraduate is your go-to expert in graduate hiring. Contact us for more information or advice, or load a job.

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