As the business landscape evolves and becomes increasingly competitive, the demand for skilled professionals is intensifying. Businesses are actively seeking candidates who possess future-proof skills to adapt to rapidly changing work environments.
Donna Chowdhury, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) faculty member in the Department of Leadership & People Management at University Canada West (UCW), emphasizes the importance of these skills, saying, “Leaders must embrace high-pressure situations positively and bounce back from setbacks. They have to appreciate new knowledge, be culturally literate and stay updated on industry trends and best practices.”
Here are the top five skills in business that are currently in high demand among Canadian employers:
Leadership and Management
In today’s dynamic workplace, leadership and management skills are more important than ever. This includes the ability to inspire and motivate teams, make strategic decisions and manage projects effectively. Leaders are expected to guide their teams through change, set an unclouded vision and create a positive work environment that encourages innovation and collaboration.
Managers, on the other hand, need to effectively distribute resources, coordinate tasks and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. A 2021 study highlight the importance of strategic change management, a key aspect of leadership, in the context of public libraries, which can be applied to various business settings.
As businesses increasingly move operations online, digital literacy is becoming a crucial skill. This includes understanding digital marketing, e-commerce and data analysis. Professionals need to be comfortable using a variety of digital tools and platforms, and they should be able to use digital technologies to improve business operations and customer engagement.
“The MBA program at UCW acknowledges the growing significance of digital literacy and integrates it into its curriculum by partnering with leading businesses and tech companies such as Amazon Web Services, Shopify, Facebook Blueprint, IBM (International Business Machines) Design Thinking and Tableau,” shares Chowdhury. “As technology continues to advance, digital literacy remains essential, evolving to include topics like artificial intelligence, blockchain and cybersecurity.”
They also need to understand how to use data to inform decision-making and drive business strategy. The role of the digital economy in prompting sustainability is a testament to the importance of digital literacy in today’s business world.
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
With consumers and investors becoming more conscious about the environmental and social impact of businesses, understanding sustainability and CSR is becoming increasingly important. Businesses are expected to operate in a way that is not only profitable but also socially responsible and environmentally friendly.
This involves minimizing their environmental footprint, treating employees fairly and contributing positively to their communities. The question of whether business ethics really matter a question no longer but a necessity in today’s business environment.
“UCW offers a three-module, 42-hour program on CSR. Additionally, the MBA program has also integrated sustainability and CSR by offering dedicated courses in Ethics, CSR and Business Environmental Analysis, Green Finance and Strategic Human Resource Management,” Chowdhury points out.
“Integrating sustainability and CSR concepts is crucial for the students and future business leaders because it equips them with the knowledge and skills to address environmental and social challenges, minimize carbon footprint, and emphasize on the ability to create businesses that are not only profitable but also align with sustainable practices and ethical considerations.”
Global Business Understanding
In an increasingly globalized world, understanding international business practices and cultural nuances is crucial. Businesses are no longer confined to their local markets; they operate on a global scale, dealing with clients, partners and competitors from around the world.
This needs a deep understanding of diverse cultures, business practices and legal and regulatory environments. Developing multilingual competence and cultural awareness is a key aspect of global business understanding.
“The MBA program at UCW prepares students for international business practices by offering courses on global leadership, cross-cultural management, international marketing and international finance,” Chowdhury explains. “The program also often provides opportunities for students to engage in international projects, globally recognized certification programs and interact with a diverse student body, fostering a deeper understanding of cultural nuances and developing the necessary skills to succeed on a global level.”
With the rise of startups and the gig economy, entrepreneurship skills are becoming increasingly valuable. This includes the ability to innovate, take risks and turn ideas into practical businesses. Entrepreneurs need to be able to find opportunities, develop business plans, secure funding and manage all aspects of their business. They also need to be resilient and adaptable, as entrepreneurship often involves facing and overcoming challenges.
“The MBA program fosters entrepreneurial thinking and skills through various means. At the graduate level, UCW offers entrepreneurship-focused courses, covering topics such as design thinking, opportunity recognition, business planning, prototyping, consulting projects and venture financing,” said Chowdhury. “Students are provided with a robust professional network, including alumni, faculty and guest speakers who have entrepreneurial experiences. Engaging with these individuals can offer valuable insights, mentorship and potential business connections to gain hands-on experience in entrepreneurial environments.”
These skills are not only in-demand but also future-proof, meaning they are expected to remain relevant despite technological advancements and changes in the business landscape. Higher education institutions play a crucial role in preparing students for successful careers by equipping them with these skills.
Interested in a career in the business industry?
University of Canada West (UCW) offers a variety of programs tailored to equip you with the skills needed for a successful career in business. These include the Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication, and the Master of Business Administration. These programs are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals, communication strategies and advanced business practices.
Trebas Institute offers specialized programs such as Video Game Design and Entrepreneurship, Analytics, Big Data and Business Intelligence, and E-commerce and Online Business Management. These programs are ideal for those looking to combine their passion for technology with business acumen, offering a unique blend of technical and business skills.
Canadian College of Technology and Business (CCTB) offers programs like Business Management with Co-op and Business Administration with Co-op. These programs are designed to provide you with practical business knowledge, with the added benefit of work experience through a co-op placement.