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HR managers and undergraduates value different traits in career development

Posted on from Changeboard

HR managers and undergraduates seem to have conflicting ideas on how to develop a young professional's careers. With greater collaboration across the globe possible, is international experience the key for growing in the workplace?

A worldwide survey of undergraduates and HR managers has revealed there is a significant disconnect between what each party feels is the most important factor in the growth of young people’s careers.

By polling close to 450 students around the world, The Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) found that 53% of bachelor students believe that developing technical skills will further their careers. Of the 80 HR managers surveyed, only 36% agreed. 

Over a third of students (35%) stated that going beyond what was expected of them on the job brief was the way to get ahead, compared to only one-in-five HR managers. 

Roland Siegers, executive director at CEMS said: “Our research suggests that young people starting out in the workplace may not be focusing on the right growth and that the skills they think will build successful careers do not always match the views of global employers.”

According to HR managers, the main catalyst for success in a young professional’s career is an ability to work outside of their comfort zone, with 61% of respondents citing it as a desirable trait. They also valued experience (59%) and good networking (56%) in young employees.

Employers also placed greater importance emphasis on an international perspective, as 36% considered assignments in other countries important. Only 25% of students believed it would help them in their careers.

Siegers added: “Young people just setting out on their careers will come up against major political, digital, economic and environmental challenges that their predecessors did not face.

“To ensure that they can thrive in this uncertain landscape and work successfully with colleagues across the globe, they must develop broad skills, flexibility and cultural intelligence, particularly through international experiences which challenge them and broaden their horizons.”

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