A little while ago I read a really interesting article which gave advice to students on what careers, studies and languages to pursue to secure a professional future. The conclusions of the article were clear, in the new workforce context, no university or postgraduate studies nor language skills, guarantee a safe job. What used to be a competitive advantage is now required baggage, but not enough.
Euprepio Padula, Managing Director of Padula & Partners asserts, “In these times we can’t afford the luxury of not being creative. We are all asked to give something extra, and this something has to do with the spirit of adapting to the customer, or to the market.” He also commented that, without dwelling on the catchphrase emotional intelligence, we must discover this facet, stressing the fact, “There are fundamental career values that have to do with contributing to the team, the boss, colleagues and subordinates…” Before it wasn’t so important someone used this emotional aspect to achieve success. Today it isn’t like that, in down times we realize that either we develop these areas, or there is no team building. This is so much more crucial than choosing a career or another.”
Andrés Fontenla, Managing Director of Futurestep insists on the relevance of the capacity to learn; this is what makes people adaptable and underlines the importance of possessing the “capacity to remain spirited and stable in the face of changes.”
From his standpoint, Federico de Vicente, Manager of the Finance Division at Michael Page, a strategic consultancy, said “There will be a demand for profiles who can innovate and convert a difficulty into a challenge or an opportunity,” adding that specialization is another value for professionals of the future, “Great store will be increasingly given to profiles that have deep knowledge of something specific and can rapidly add value.”
The partner at Neumann International, Alberto Bochieri, draws attention to some values and attitudes for this new professional journey, indicating “A high capacity to communicate at all levels will be necessary. An open mind and cultural receptivity right from the start. This includes an outstanding international outlook, for which you’d have to learn how to mingle in different cultures in the broadest sense (corporate, social and political).” Who also shares this view is Krista Walochik, Chairman of Norman Broadbent in Spain and Iberoamerica, when she advises, that rather than dominate a language, what will be valued in future professionals is their capacity to get around creating the same impact in a foreign culture—to be efficient in different cultures.”
The conclusion I have come to after reading this article is that existing and future companies place a high value on the individual’s skills, capacities and attitudes when selecting a candidate, independently of the expertise and experience the person has.
But after reading all this one may ask, what do I do if I encounter difficulties in one of these aspects? Are these capacities and skills innate, or can they be learnt and developed? Are the results of these learning experiences satisfactory? Can these be measured and quantified?
We shall tackle all these queries in the second part of this article.