Can millennials own these skills for success?
Whether it’s the ability to communicate or work effectively in a team, these skills will help you go far in your career
For new entrants to the workforce, having a good work ethic and paper qualifications may not be enough to guarantee success.
The digital economy has changed the way people work, as well as the skills employers expect from workers.
Newer skills, like the ability to interpret data, are important. Still, some traditional capabilities – such as the ability to communicate well – continue to be important. Here is our pick of the skills that millennials should have in their arsenal.
You may not be your own boss, but the ability to come up with creative ideas and take charge like an entrepreneur is being increasingly valued by employers. Even large corporations are encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset among their staff as they face stiff competition from more innovative and nimble start-ups.
Brought up in an age where going into business straight after graduation (or even before) is a legitimate career option, millennials are no strangers to the leadership skills possessed by successful entrepreneurs.
Such individuals are more likely to be tasked to take on new initiatives or lead projects that can give their employers an edge over the competition.
With technology rapidly changing the way businesses work, being proficient at using digital tools and handling digital platforms is now a must-have for all employees.
Millennials probably have a head start in this area as they grew up using mobile devices, social media and online applications.
But today’s must-have software could easily be consigned to the scrapheap of forgotten apps (does anyone remember Friendster?). This means that staying in touch with the latest digital tools and skills for work is a never-ending process.
Technology may be radically changing the way we work, but the goal of most employers has not changed – sustaining the business.
Regardless of what role you are in, having a solid understanding about the financial workings of an organisation, and how your work contributes to the bottom line is a big boon for any employee.
Employers often lament about the inability of younger workers to express themselves. According to a recent survey by consultancy Hay Group, around 80 per cent of the human resource directors in the United States reported that it was a struggle to find graduates equipped with the social and emotional skills to be successful in their careers.
Good communication is vital in every industry. “Rarely does anyone work alone. Even in a small-to-medium-sized enterprise, employees often work in teams to achieve their KPIs (key performance indicators) and team goals,” said Mr Sim Cher Young, director of Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre at Singapore Management University.
The pervasive use of social media and texting is often cited for the reason millennial employees often fall short when it comes to communication in the workplace. As such, acquiring strong verbal and written communication skills will help you stand out in the office.
“Attending relevant communications courses may help you pick up techniques to enhance your interpersonal skills, but ultimately, you must be genuinely positive, enthusiastic and sincere in building relationships at work,” said Mr Sim.
In today's digital world, employees are likely to work with colleagues from different departments or even overseas offices. This means that the ability to collaborate effectively with people from different countries, backgrounds and levels of experience is important.
This ability to play well with others will also help your employer see you as a supportive and motivated team member who is capable of negotiating solutions that benefit the company.
Help at hand
While some of these skills can be picked up on the job, there are also external training courses that can help you acquire them.
One place to look is the SkillsFuture Series launched by SkillsFuture Singapore. The SkillsFuture Series is a series of curated work-skills related short and modular courses, which focuses on eight priority and emerging skills areas. These eight areas are: