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Building tomorrow’s talent: Collaboration can close emerging skills gap

Business and academia in the U.S. have traditionally been able to equip new workforce recruits with the hard skills they need to perform at a high level in the workplace. But with the regular flow of new technologies and business models into the market, today’s employees must navigate all this change with a varied skill set. This means soft skills such as adaptability and complex problem-solving are more important than ever for recent college grads, mid-career professionals, and seasoned executives. Employer needs are continually shifting in response to changes in industry and the marketplace, so workers also need to keep refreshing both their hard and soft skills. A 2018 Bloomberg Next and Workday survey asked if business and academia were meeting these challenges, and what areas they might need to refine or rethink to improve outcomes. The research team surveyed 200 senior-level individuals – 100 each in academia and business – focusing on four primary themes: preparedness, skills, collaboration, and planning. Corporate, professional service, and nonprofit respondents came from organizations with at least 500 employees based in the U.S. The survey results identified several significant issues: A majority of respondents said new hires are not well-prepared to perform at a high level in a professional environment, primarily because of insufficient soft skills; A surprising number of organizations lack formal plans and budgets for addressing the impact of emerging technologies; Business and academia are not collaborating as actively and effectively as they could be in preparing students for employment and reskilling individuals already in the workforce.