Dr. Boris Blumberg describes the Skill Gap Survey, which depicts which skills employers look for in MBA graduates and which skills they find difficult to recruit.
The table below reveals the five most and five least important skills employers are looking for as well as the five skills most difficult and least difficult to recruit.
Taken seriously, these results reveal what business schools do well and where there are opportunities for curriculum developments. Not surprising, working in a team remains an important ability! Business students are well equipped to work in teams, as team assignments are a standard assessment in most programmes. The table also reflects the high demand for big data analysts, but also shows that working and interpreting big data requires more than good programming skills.
|5 most important skills / abilities||5 least important skills / abilities||5 skills most difficult to recruit||5 skills least difficult to recruit|
|to work in a team||applied microeconomics||to influence others||specialized marketing skills|
|to work with a wide variety of people||to use social media to benefit business||strategic thinking||ability to work in a team|
|to solve complex problems||accounting||drive and resilience||accounting|
|to build and sustain people networks||programming||big data analysis||to use social media to benefit business|
|to prioritize and time management||corporate social responsibility||to solve complex problems||foreign languages|
What is more surprising is the fact that specialized subject knowledge – whether in economics, accounting and marketing – is considered less important and widely available on the labour market. Important skills in shortage are more general skills reaching from time management to people skills and strategic mastering of complexity.
How do these demands in the labour market coincide with the plethora of specialized master programmes in business? Shouldn’t business schools broaden their offering or even open their curricula for other disciplinary fields such as technology and arts and culture?
Navigating complexity as understanding and leading diverse groups of individuals requires taking different perspectives and working along and with different approaches. The mono disciplinary hammer is not sufficient to build the future. Business school graduates need a rich, continuously developing set of tools and instruments. Today MBA programmes with a diverse mix of students in terms of culture, previous education and experience are still the best offer in the market providing the skills and abilities employers look for.