A poll that ran for over two weeks on various social media platforms sought to understand how companies are hiring right now and how are they likely to hire in the future. The poll that asked the participants to vote of their companies hired more for knowledge than educational degrees, more for skills than experiences and above all hired for the right attitude. 

The result of the survey clearly show that traditional hiring is slowly giving way to more competency-based hiring where the skills will be valued more.

Voice of the Young Corporate Leaders

But are our graduates ready for the future that is going to value their skills more than the fancy educational degree alone? What do our young corporate leaders think? What is their experience in hiring college graduates? In several interviews that were conducted with them, the findings clearly show that most college graduates not only fall short of the skill requirements of today’s job, more so they may not be braced-up for the skills of the future. Here are some snippets of some of the interviews –

Esraa Hasan Haji, Recruiter, Team Players, Bahrain

Esraa Hasan Haji

 In the current era, graduates need to develop a certain set of skills in order to survive in the workplace. We should focus on what they should learn, instead of what they currently know.

There are many professions in the future that will need different skills. This is why it is important to have a solid plan of your education and research about the skills that are needed for that particular profession.

The future is going to be shaped by rapid technological advances and graduates will need to be prepared for it if they want to succeed. In order to do this, schools should teach students how to use new technologies, strategies for collaboration, and how to work with teams from diverse backgrounds. 

In the end, graduates also need to equip themselves with skills that are needed in the global marketplace. Skills for the future are not predetermined, but rather they are driven by what is needed at any given time.


Lino Rubén E. Choreño Machain, Secretary of Communications, Media and Tourism, Embassy of Mexico in Singapore

Lino Rubén E. Choreño Machain

 In my experience, by far the most important skills a professional needs are soft skills, being the top 3 most used by me at my current the ability to adapt fast, communication skills, and self-learning. Unfortunately, unless you were a student engaged in extracurricular activities, none of them were really taught at school. I started making use of them when I joined the professional world and developed even more thanks to a multinational MBA I joined, which forced me to learn how to adapt to new systems and cultures very fast, as I was changing country every 3 to 4 months. 

At work you must be able to adapt to last-minute circumstances, geopolitics, cultural environment, and emergencies, which mostly will force you to learn something new on the go, and where clear and effective communication is mandatory. 

As a piece of advice to professional schools to make their future graduates’ future skill ready, would be to promote not only leadership as most institutions are doing, but activities that will motivate and help them understand the need to upskill like cultural exchanges, debates, case studies, simulations and competitions of real-life work environments and start up building.


Abhisek Bhattacharya, Partner, M/S Protech Engineering, Kolkata, India

Abhisek Bhattacharya

 The nature of work and careers is changing fast and In the Future the right skills will be prized over academic qualification alone. I believe that most current graduates do not come with the right set of skills. Many students are being prepared for jobs that are mostly taken by automations. They’ll need to acquire exceptional soft skills — the ability to write, listen, and communicate effectively and also brush upon their core technical skills. Which is not being focused upon in most schools/universities. Schools should focus on building soft skills as of equal importance!

To self-equip, one should – Identify the key soft skills one has and need; Consider core technical skills one has that are likely to stay in high demand; Focus on skills that are portable and that will be critical regardless of what field one enters; Keep a permanent, personal list of past and future learning; and, be prepared to be thrust into decision-making responsibilities from day one.


Shreya Shrivastava, Manager, Learning and Development function, at IndiQube-India’s leading coworking space provider

Shreya Shrivastava

 We are undergoing a radical reconstruct in the way we work. Jobs have become more dynamic, and changing skills that organisations look at, demands an ability to thrive in ambiguous situations, to be agile and flexible. To prepare graduates for the industry, it is imperative to weave real-world skills into project and group-based learning. Graduates should focus on, developing skills applicable across industries and understand how changes in one domain can disrupt operations in another, as their careers will span through multiple roles, industries, and company sizes. Thus, analytical capabilities developed, in the process will fare well in future. The key skill of the future is, not mere a skill, it’s an approach and a way of thinking.


Benjin Samuel, Recruitment Specialist, Early Talent Hiring in a major IT MNC in India

Benjin Samuel

 There are various organizations taking steps to create a custom-tailored talent pipeline that fits the culture and technical requirements, through hackathons, internships, and qualifying certifications. This has helped in bridging the gap to a great extent but despite the attempts, we still find areas that can help in better productivity. This is one of the main reasons why the IT industry is moving towards a trend of continuous upskilling – certification & work integrated learning programs.

In the generation of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Blockchain the demand for Techno-functional knowledge is key. Top skills may vary year on year but these technology domains that cut across each function & industry will help a professional catch pace with the future requirements.

Shilpi Dixit, Director, Employment Mantras- Job Consultancy and Dizital Mantras- Skill Training Institute (An ISO 9001-2015 certified Institute)

Shilpi Dixit

 Our current graduates do not have the right set of skills. They seldom know what the right direction for them is, they take decisions either under pressure of their parents or due to current situation. Instead, they should be choosing career paths according to their interests. Because of this there is often a large gap between their destination and dreams.

That’s because subset of knowledge gap. There is gap between what knowledge our graduates possess and what skills they need for the job market and the future. Our educational system is lacking in many ways for making our graduates industry ready. The old-fashioned teaching pedagogy and poor adaptability for technology are the main reasons.

Now it’s time for change from mundane theoretical knowledge to more practical based learning, skill enhancement and continuous innovations in teaching pedagogy.


Chengappa M N, Lead Advisor, HRBP Technicolor India 

Chengappa M N

 Having worked on multiple facets of HR like Talent Acquisition, Talent management, Performance Management, change management, learning & development and the likes, I can confidently say that having exposure to diverse roles irrespective of one’s core interest has diverse benefits. 

The challenge off late with candidates is the reluctance to get their hands dirty. As an HRBP, I would need to step in and get things done even if they aren’t under my kitty. A small example: if my business stakeholder is facing high attrition in his team and the TA team is struggling to hire externally, it’s a need of the hour for me to step in and strategize on a course of action. Despite TA/ recruitment not being my area of interest, I would need to get involved keeping in mind the larger picture. 

Graduate schools need to focus on giving their students a larger picture and how each function is interdependent. Once an employee/candidate can see how his or her action plays a role at a macro level, growth is destined. Unfortunately, the majority of those in the market are short-sighted and thoughts limited to their functions/ work. 

To conclude, every professional must be open to learn. Restricting to one style of working or hesitation to adapt to new ways will restrict and paves way for better talent to replace them. Always aim at “what value can my work add to the organisation.


In my another article for this Skills for the Future Asia edition – DID MILLENNIALS LEARN THEIR JOB SKILLS FROM THEIR PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS?, most millennials agree that they did not get most of the top 3 skills that they currently use in their jobs in their professional schools. Here the opinion of the young corporate leaders and their experience in hiring college graduates is no different. 

The objective is however not to point fingers, instead emphasis that the future will value skills and competencies of a person and less fall for the labels and brands. Therefore, there is an urgent need to critically assess the design and delivery of professional courses across the table to ensure that the graduates of tomorrow are future skill ready.

Also, read out cover story for this edition – MAPPING THE SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

About the Author

Dr. Debashish Sengupta is a celebrated award-winning author, millennial expert, business consultant, professor, a master trainer and a Harvard University certified teacher. He is the Coeditor of ‘The Future of Earth’.