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Business students worry about lack of digital skills

One in three business school students are concerned about their lack of digital skills, according to new research.

Some 70% of students surveyed believe that senior leaders have a “poor understanding” of digital skills. Photo: Unsplash

A survey of business school students found that many of them feel unprepared for entering the workforce

A survey of 1,060 business school students by careers platform Highered found that many feel unprepared for entering the workforce, with 30% choosing digital skills as the ones they lacked most.

Over 70% of the students surveyed also believe that senior leaders have a “poor understanding” of digital skills and “industry 4.0” (a term referring to the fourth industrial revolution) while 86% believed that their university degree alone would not be enough to get them a job in their preferred industry.

“Employers such as Microsoft, Audi and Alibaba have been developing Industry 4.0 practices for years, but it’s clear that business school students feel unprepared for this new reality,” said Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at Highered.

The majority of students said they wanted their institutions to address these concerns by integrating employment skills into their degree programs and offering more opportunities for internships.

“Partnerships between universities, business schools and employers will be critical”

Wigmore Alvarez told the PIE that more “cross-departmental cooperation” is needed.

“For example, a number of schools offer personal effectiveness courses or similar on the academic side – negotiation, leadership, cross-cultural management, presentation skills, organisational behaviour – which are not always being leveraged from the career services side,” she said.

However, the research – which surveyed students of 111 nationalities living in 96 countries – also found that business school students feel more positive about finding a job than in previous years, with 49% saying they feel “more confident” about securing employment than they did last year.

“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 personalised to their level of skills,” Wigmore Alvarez said.

“Partnerships between universities, business schools and employers will be critical.”

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