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Young professionals at work, hr

What HR managers really want

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When trying to fill a job position, most HR managers know exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate. Candidates, in turn, will do their best to display their top skills in order to land a new job or promotion. Unfortunately for both parties, the skills HR managers are looking for and the skills young professionals think they’re looking for aren’t quite a match.

That is according to research carried out by CEMS Global Alliance in management education alongside its corporate partner Universum. The study surveyed 445 bachelor students worldwide and 80 global HR managers. Over half of the HR managers were from companies with more than 1000 employees.

According to the findings, tech skills are at the top of students’ list of priorities, with 53% indicating that developing technical experience would be key to helping them get ahead in their careers. With all the talk about digitisation and technology, it’s not hard to think why. Yet, when it comes to HR managers, only 36% of them agree.

Further areas in which expectations misalign are taking on international assignments, and doing more than what is asked in the job description. Thirty six per cent of HR managers placed taking international assignments high on the list of career drivers, while 25% of students considered it as such.
Meanwhile, 35% of students said that doing more than what was asked in the job description was the way to get ahead, but only 20% of HR managers agreed.

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

The one thing both parties did agree on is that long working hours won’t help career growth – with only 5% of students and 4% of HR managers feeling it is something young professionals should strive to be doing.

Overall, it’s working outside their comfort zone (61%), gaining broad experience (59%), and networking (56%) that young people should be focusing on to improve themselves professionally, say the HR managers. To improve the chances of finding candidates who are actually doing that, perhaps it’s time to better communicate those needs.

ALSO READ: HR is overlooking Baby Boomers in favour of grooming younger talent

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