October 3, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Salem State University
University of Richmond
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Central Arkansas
Albertus Magnus College
Marymount Manhattan College
Montclair State University
New Mexico State University
Concordia University Irvine
The City College of New York
Southern Oregon University
University of California, Irvine
Concordia University Irvine
Whatcom Community College
Salem State University
Accounting & Finance Department, Bertolon School of Business
Zlatinka Blaber Ph.D.: In my opinion, the skills that recent university graduates need to succeed professionally in a time of the pandemic, i.e., mostly remote office work, are 1) communication skills, 2) research skills, 3) data analytics skills, and 4) adaptability. A newly hired graduate in an accounting firm or in the accounting department of a non-accounting firm needs to write concisely, to the point, and error-free. Bad writing projects a weak professional (and company) image to clients, suppliers, and others. Communication skills do not extend only to writing emails and reports; asking questions when clarification is needed also is very important for a smooth work process. No one is born knowing everything, but one can research topics of interest and learn new things. Nowadays, there are plenty of library books, magazines, databases, search engines, online forums, massive open online courses (MOOCs), such as Udemy, EdX, and Coursera, and other resources available at our fingertips. Knowledge has never been available so widely and so cheaply, often for free. I call this the democratization of knowledge. Curiosity is an important characteristic of acquiring new knowledge and skills. New knowledge and skills lead to upskilling, especially if acquired regularly. The future belongs to those willing to get out of their comfort zone, upskill, and adopt a lifetime learning worldview. This is a matter of values and priorities. We see lifetime learning in action in business, too - Netflix and SpaceX, for example, have adopted innovative business models that no one had thought of before, and they have not stopped innovating. These companies did not rest on their laurels. Likewise, graduates need to be proactive, do research, and find the answers the company is looking for. "Data" is all around us and is valuable. Learning the basics of Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Tableau, or Microsoft Power BI and getting certified in them can be very useful, too. For more advanced software features, the makers of these programs have online classes, support, and user manuals. Learning data analytics skills may take some time, but it will save a lot of time and effort in the long run. Finally, adaptability.
My native country, Bulgaria, for example, has seen an influx of workers from Latin America, North America, the rest of Europe, and other places since the mid-2000s. Big Western pharmaceutical and software companies, among others, have offshored their offices there because the cost of labor and the income taxes are lower than those in Western countries. A low cost of labor corresponds to a low cost of living, too. Today, recent graduates should stay open-minded as to the location of their employer. We live in a global village that constantly changes. Sometimes, one's ideal job is far away from home. Accepting a job opportunity abroad requires flexibility and the long term in mind. It may come with nice surprises - a generous foreign earned income tax credit (for U.S. citizens working abroad), college debt forgiveness or postponement (for jobs with the Peace Corps and the Fulbright Commission, for example), new places to see, new languages to learn, and new friends to make. When one door shuts, another one opens.
University of Richmond
Alumni & Career Services
Keith Webb: Academically, we prepare our students for numerous opportunities, whether they are pursuing opportunities as business analyst interns, investment banking interns, consulting interns, etc. Generally, relevant experience is a plus. However, transferable skills stand out as well.
Keith Webb: Oral and written communication skills are critical. Also, the ability to work within a team orientation, flexibility, and adaptability, to name a few.
Keith Webb: Truly depends on the role; a student needs to know how to model (Discounted Cash Flow, Weighted Average Cost models) for investment banking. For consulting, understanding the case interviewing process is a must; Excel is huge, and many employers are looking for students who know Python, SQL R, etc.
Keith Webb: While it depends on the industry, I believe students who develop and enhance their skill set in data analytics will ultimately reap significant incomes and longevity.
University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Supply Chain Management & Analytics Department
Ozgur Araz Ph.D.: Recently, data management and analytics skills with a global understanding of business operations, including supply chain management, have stood out.
Ozgur Araz Ph.D.: Collaborative management and leadership skills are most important.
Ozgur Araz Ph.D.: Data processing, modeling, and analyses are important technical skills.
Ozgur Araz Ph.D.: In almost all business disciplines, data analytics skills help most to stand out for salary negotiations.
University of Nevada, Reno
College of Business
Jim McClenahan: It continues to be a balance of soft skills and technical skills. Perseverance and Grit are things to highlight. Adapting to changing environments is something not advertised, but everyone is looking for with the times we are in. With adapting to change, empathy is very important. For students, employers want to see levels of engagement. A high GPA is not enough. What clubs were you involved in? What part-time jobs did you hold? Finally, technical skills will never go out of style. A little coding is nice, and Excel mastery in any position dealing with data is vital.
Jim McClenahan: As I said, soft skills are desired more than ever. Angela Duckworth describes Grit as "Perseverance, effort, and skill." We can teach the skill; the other two have to come with the new hire. Empathy is important as someone grows in their career-you can't be an effective leader and not have empathy in your skillset.
Jim McClenahan: Sometimes this is job-dependent. Generically, Excel is the go-to tool for entry-level data analytics. Knowing one coding language, typically Python is a great start if your career ranges into the technical side. Business development and sales are the most demanded skills and experiences with the jobs we see. Not traditionally classified as hard skills, but not really soft, they underly so many things students see in first careers.
Jim McClenahan: It depends! The highest-paying jobs that are outside of STEM or advanced degrees for new grads are always in Sales and Business Development. In areas like commercial real estate, that needs to be paired with data analysis and Excel. Outside of those areas, accounting majors typically have the highest average salaries.
University of Central Arkansas
Anthony McMullen: This will depend on the specific field. Business is an incredibly broad area. Anyone with a business type of degree will at least obtain basic knowledge in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing. These skills should be highlighted. But when thinking about a resume, workers should think about (and participate in) experiences that allow them to use these skills. And once they have these experiences, they should be able to articulate how they used these skills on a resume. Don't just say, "I did ______." Say, "I used _________ in order to accomplish __________."
Anthony McMullen: Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the phrase "soft skills" v. "hard skills," as some might take such phrases to imply that soft skills are not as important or are easier to obtain. That being said, to answer the question, communication and critical-thinking skills are essential to a successful career. Communication skills (both oral and written) are necessary to convey messages. It does not matter how much technical expertise someone has if that person is unable to convey that expertise to others. Critical-thinking skills are important because skilled workers need to know how to think through problems. The answer will not always be readily apparent. And even when it is, workers need to ensure that they can analyze it to ensure that it is trustworthy. Maybe the information found is outdated, doesn't apply to the situation, or is just flat out wrong, and a skilled worker needs to be able to make that determination.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, adaptability is also necessary to be successful. So many jobs have changed (and will continue to change). Many people left their respective industries during the pandemic because they couldn't (or did not want to) adapt to change. Those who can, or at least try, will find more opportunities in the workplace.
Anthony McMullen: Generally, the most valuable hard skills are going to depend on your field. So, it is hard to identify a specific "hard skill" that is most important. The current "buzz words" in business education is data analytics, or the ability to use tools to analyze and present data. Our society is increasingly data-driven. How do people wade through all of this information and provide something useful? Those who can do this well will have the upper hand.
Anthony McMullen: Acquiring a specialty is great, but specialization should not come at the expense of a broad and diverse knowledge base. Within specialized fields, many people will have the training/education to do the job, but what makes a particular person special? What will give that person the chance to branch out or to think about other avenues to accomplish the task? That will help workers maximize opportunities.
Business and Management Department
Stephani Richards-Wilson Ph.D.: The skills or competencies that stand out are those that add value to an organization. They complement the skills of those already working there and advance the organization's products, services, or culture. Transferrable or timeless skills transcend industries and stand out on resumes. They include leadership, teamwork, project management, and collaboration. Of course, individuals who list these skills on their resumes should effectively demonstrate that they have developed and are proficient in these areas. Business specialists should be ready to provide examples in writing/print or audio-video media, such as links to their work.
Stephani Richards-Wilson Ph.D.: Today's business environment is complex and continues to evolve. Creativity, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and the ability to manage or lead in turbulent times are essential twenty-first-century skills. Critical and strategic thinking, organizing, and planning are also salient skills. Business specialists with these skills make important contributions to their organizations. They often lead when no one else can or wants to. Communicating and being visible throughout one's division, department, or organization are important to the well-being and prosperity of the organization and the individuals who work there. Business specialists can develop and practice these leadership skills on-site or remotely. Internal and external relationship-building leads to trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationships and/or partnerships.
Stephani Richards-Wilson Ph.D.: Respectful communication, including email and video conferencing etiquette, is most important across all settings. Different business functions and roles require different skill sets. What is hard for some can be easy or relatively easy for others. Becoming proficient in office productivity software/applications and presentation platforms is vital to one's career development. The ability to effectively network online is also important. I encourage my students to keep their professional profiles on LinkedIn current. If they need to develop their time management skills, I encourage them to use a calendar or scheduling tool.
Stephani Richards-Wilson Ph.D.: My experience has been that it depends on the position, organization, and industry, among other variables. Digital and information literacy are key to researching, analyzing, and evaluating credible information, in this case, skills that are in demand and could lead to well-paying jobs. I would emphasize, however, that there are intrinsic benefits that sometimes eclipse salary as the primary consideration. It depends on the individual and how they want to improve their quality of life, earn incentives, or be compensated. For many, contributing to an organization that promotes humane and positive interactions, allows for flexible work arrangements, and aligns with one's personal values is paramount. I encourage business specialists to stay vigilant and knowledgeable about developing industry or marketplace trends. Embrace continuous learning, upskilling, and workplace training to remain relevant in the post-pandemic world.
William Aniskovich JD: Work hard, be honest, choose a job you love doing with a company that makes your community a better place. Everything else, money included, will take care of itself.
William Aniskovich JD: Well, it's the nature of modern technology that we can't possibly imagine what that might be! It will change, and it will change fast, that's for sure. However, on balance, I think it's safe to say that the field we call "analytics" will play an increasing role in how we work (and play!). The application of new technologies to how we make decisions in the workplace (from recruitment to hiring and even retention strategies) will undoubtedly continue to be an essential part of every job sector.
William Aniskovich JD: That's a tough one! There are a variety of factors that play into this. First and foremost, getting the economy back to the pre-Covid growth rates. That said, I think there will continue to be lots of pressure on wages, both private sector and public sector pressure, and that will be good news for graduates. This field will continue to expand as companies need expertise in navigating a fast-changing and highly regulated economy.
Dr. Vandana Rao Ph.D.: Skills related to technology will be in great demand. More jobs require a higher level of mastery in designing remote work, learning, and collaborating tools.
Dr. Vandana Rao Ph.D.: Software related to operations management, big data analysis for planning and forecasting, software for virtual collaboration -- all of these will be in high demand. There will be rapid development of more sophisticated tools - and all professionals will need to keep pace with the latest in tech.
Dr. Vandana Rao Ph.D.: There will be a need for grads with a high degree of comfort with technology - the ability to innovate and adapt and thrive, even amidst uncertainty, will be invaluable.
Small Business Development Center
Richard Longo: Key will be how to use performance metrics to determine and assess productivity. Outbound marketing will be another required requisite for effective management. How e-commerce and AI will force most businesses, both big and small, to think globally.
Richard Longo: Areas of growth, in terms of the future, include Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, Denver, Houston. Ideally, graduates need to assess the market and demographics of the country. Focus on where these are trending up
Richard Longo: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will, by far, have the most significant impact. As this grows and develops, businesses will need to have the requisite skills and mindset to pivot away from traditional working ways. Skills will be needed to train and educate the work to be better equipped to move from human-focused work culture to a more robotic one.
Dr. Melissa Gutworth Ph.D.: This depends on the job or industry, but there are some broad skills that companies tend to look for. Leadership experience, of any kind, seems excellent. This doesn't have to be from a full-time job necessarily, but could also be through an internship, part-time work experience, or student organization. Many companies also look for signals of dependability, reliability, and commitment, such as whether someone has worked at a particular place for a while, or whether someone has been recognized for their dedication to their work. Communication skills are also crucial, so students should highlight any public speaking or presentations they may have done in their past jobs, or even in clubs or classes, if they did not have these experiences at work.
Dr. Melissa Gutworth Ph.D.: I know that there is a lot of talk about gap years now, but I do not recommend this. Most travel isn't safe, or even possible, and unemployment rates are high, leaving fewer job opportunities. Gap years can lead to students losing the motivation to finish their degrees and lengthening the amount of time it takes to obtain well-paying, satisfying work. I would recommend that students either continue with their degree, if they are in the middle of one, or consider a graduate program. There are many options for students to advance their degrees, depending on their current situation.
For example, the Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University has a 4+1 program (where students can earn their Bachelor's degree and MBA in a total of 5 years), online or hybrid MBA programs, and accelerated programs, like 12- a month or 17-month MBAs. There are also certificate programs that are designed to train specific skills in a shorter time frame. By earning an advanced degree or certificate, students will be better able to stand out among the increased job market competition. They will be more likely to pursue a successful career.
Dr. Melissa Gutworth Ph.D.: In regard to technology, remote work will be here to stay, so we will likely see more technology designed to facilitate that transition. New software and tools that enable people to be more productive while working from home are likely, such as better time management programs, virtual communication platforms, project management tools, and other software that better enable collaborative remote work. Despite how ironic it is, we might see more technology designed to help us limit current technologies.
As more people spend most of their time at home, we are likely to see problems with people being unable to separate work and non-work time and unable to disconnect from technology. This is already creating all sorts of mental and physical health problems for employees currently working from home. I think we will see more technology in the future that helps us reduce screen time, be more active at home, and be more present and engaged with others. Virtual reality was also already on the rise before the pandemic. Still, we are likely to see this being used even more as companies adopt it to train remote workers, enable remote workers to interact in virtual spaces, and generally enable people to experience situations that they're unable to engage in physically.
Joan Kalamas: To successfully enter the workforce, I believe new graduates will need to have a solid base of technical knowledge, skills, and abilities in their chosen fields such as finance, marketing, supply chain, human resources, etc. Yet they will also need effective "soft skills," such as critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communications, teamwork and collaboration, emotional intelligence, digital technology skills, professionalism, and a solid work ethic. Soft skills are equally as important, if not more important, than technical skills, states Joan Berry Kalamas, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, an H.R. professional with 30 years of business, leadership, and H.R. experience and now serving as a full-time faculty member, teaching H.R. undergraduate and MBA courses at Ashland University.
From experience, I know that most employers will select candidates who possess and demonstrate emotional intelligence, effective oral and written communications, and other "soft skills" over those candidates that possess just the technical skills. Students need to learn about real business practices and challenges and then learn practical, applicable, "real-life" technical and soft skills to deal with various situations that occur in organizations. An "it depends" answer is usually a response that allows students to look at the variables, analyze the facts, and use critical thinking skills to determine the appropriate course of action to take. The goal should be to teach students how to think, not what to think. I feel very fortunate to have been in the business world, as I can help develop in our students the types of skills and abilities employers are seeking from new graduates.
Ms. Berry Kalamas also serves on the Ohio SHRM State Council, an affiliate of The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), an organization of over 300,000 HR and business executive members in 65 countries that is an expert in H.R. practices. A new initiative regarding "Young Professionals" is being introduced from SHRM all across the country as SHRM has identified and understands the energy, passion, and work ethic this new generation of employees bring to organizations, and SHRM is providing guidance to assist that next generation of H.R. leadership.
Joan Kalamas: I think it really depends on the field that a college graduate is hoping to enter, whether it be manufacturing, technology-oriented, service-oriented, medical, government, or some other field.
However, in an April 2020 article written by Ben Geier, CEFP, SmartAsset analyzed data from 155 of the largest U.S. cities looking at ten metrics across three categories: jobs, affordability, and fun. In the job category, overall unemployment rates, unemployment rates for bachelor's degree holders, average earnings for college graduates, and the number of job listings on Indeed were reviewed. Affordability included reviewing median monthly rent costs and the cost of living. Fun included reviewing dining and entertainment establishments as a percentage of all establishments, percentage of the population from the ages of 20-29, Yelp ratings for restaurants in the area, and average Yelp ratings for bars in the area. After analyzing the data, the top 10 best cities, in order, for new college graduates were:
-Kansas City, MO
-St. Louis, MO
Seven of the top 10 cities for new college graduates are listed in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
Twelve of the cities located in the bottom 25 of their study were located in California, due to affordability.
Business Insider published an article written by Andy Kiersz in May 2019 titled "The 20 Best Cities for College Grads Looking To Start Their Lives". Five indicators in 260 metropolitan areas were analyzed, including young-adult population share, the share of young adults with at least a bachelor's degree, young-adult unemployment rate, the cost of living relative to the national average, and young adult median earnings. This study identified totally different cities as the best cities for new graduates to start a career - of course; different indicators were used. The top 5 cities from this study were in order:
-San Jose, CA
-Iowa City, IA
-San Francisco, CA
Again, I believe it depends on the field the college graduate is trying to enter.
Joan Kalamas: Technology is rapidly changing with robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning is used, and that will change the skills employees will need to be successful. Of course, having technology be able to perform some of the more manual tasks will free employees up to perform more creative and strategic work, two key means to remaining competitive and sustainable in the future.
Rob Davis states in an article he wrote for ITProPortal in January 2020, "By next year, it is expected that over one-third of skills (35 percent) that are considered important in today's workforce will have changed". In addition, Millennials are expected to make up almost 75% of the workforce by 2025 and have grown up with technology making them "tech-savvy." They understand that technology is a major driver for change, that life-long learning will be critical, that there is a need to be flexible and adaptable. Effective communication will also become more necessary as more employees work from home and often use Zoom or GoToMeeting to hold video conferencing meetings. Tasks that may have once been performed by employees can now be successfully performed by technology so employees must adapt, react, and be prepared.
In an article published by SHRM in October of 2019, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center with 1,400 technology and education professionals determined that young adults need to "learn how to learn" if they hope to adapt to the changes in the world of work. Some human tasks will be able to be performed by new technology, but new graduates seeking work will still need to learn, develop, and demonstrate the soft skills listed above to be successful.
New Mexico State University
Business & Public Services
Argie Hernandez: -Problem Solving
-Writing and Communication
-Team Player (very important)
Argie Hernandez: Fire Fighters (FF) are needed everywhere, from small towns to big cities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), FF employment is projected to grow by 6% from 2019-2020! Per BLS, states with high demand for FF are California, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, and Texas.
Argie Hernandez: Technology today is used in almost all we do, from online banking to our kitchen appliances, and fire science is not the exception. Technology will undoubtedly impact firefighters because tracking devices and drones are a must to save lives and firefighters themselves. One of the latest advances, in technology, in the fire service, is a helmet that incorporates a thermal imaging camera into the facepiece to provide constant visibility.
Sara Perry Ph.D.: More opportunities for remote work will be available than ever before, even after the pandemic. Even for new hires/new grads. Remote recruitment is another huge trend right now that will likely continue in some form. New types of job opportunities right now in the booming areas (e.g., covid-related jobs but also amazon and Home Depot, to name a few).
Sara Perry Ph.D.: Video conferencing will need to get even easier to use and richer in terms of communication abilities with options to hold both informal and formal interactions to substitute for 100% in-person interactions. Will also see enhancements to tools that allow for secure and remote collaboration.
Department of Business Administration
Glen Ilacqua: Accounting students have to prepare themselves for their accounting career during their college years and continue that learning process after graduation. Accounting, like many industries, changes over time. If you don't change with the times, you will have problems later on in your career. We help accounting students prepare themselves by showing them that their accounting education at college and after college has three components.
The first part is the problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills they need. At Stonehill, they get this through their classes in the cornerstone program and apply their knowledge in all categories. The second component of their education is the technical skills they learn in the accounting and business program. The third component does deal with technology. They need to build their resume with data analytic type courses and other technology type courses.
The three of these together will make them more valuable to future employers. If they have not taken data analytical type classes during their college career, they should take some as they enter the business world. They need to continue to grow as the accounting field changes as the world changes.
Glen Ilacqua: Continue with their knowledge and use of Microsoft Excel but also add in technology associated with data analytics. There are many programs in this area. Different companies use different ones. Learning how data analytics is used in business will assist you in understanding the various programs.
Glen Ilacqua: The starting salaries are above average, and the job prospects are also above average. The accounting majors tend to move up rather quickly, and the wages are above average all along the way.
Dr. Drew Wolf: Leadership - Illustrating the experience in taking the lead on a project or successfully managing others is one attribute that stands out on a resume in the business world today. Along those lines, resume bullet points can include accomplishments as a leader in business. Don't just tell the employee where they worked and illustrate why you were valuable to the company.
Dr. Drew Wolf: The impact of technology is one of the reasons leadership is significant to a resume. As more business is conducted away from the office and via virtual meetings, companies look for candidates independent of constant supervision; an applicant who shows initiative and the ability to prioritize and get things done is a valuable employee in today's technology-fueled business world.
Dr. Drew Wolf: There is no doubt that today's graduates will experience an enduring impact. Despite the challenges and chaos that the pandemic brought, I am hopeful that our graduates may be employees who get more vital communication skills and the flexibility to adjust to an ever-changing world. They are more comfortable with virtual meetings than many seasoned employees; they understand the need to invest in technology to meet corporate needs. They value interpersonal relationships and work to build collaborative strategies to engage with others.
Matthew Nagler: We encourage our Economics and Business majors to think about how they will represent their coursework with us on the resumes since we understand the importance of positioning your educational background for the job market. We offer a concentration in financial economics, and we encourage our students to highlight that finance background, especially if they are seeking finance or banking jobs.
Matthew Nagler: A gap year might be the right move for some students, especially if the online environment is not for them. Fortunately, I know of students who have obtained great online internships, jobs, and other opportunities that allow them to grow their experience during the pandemic. Many companies are seeking online talent to build out products and marketing strategies.
Matthew Nagler: Well, by force, we've all had to learn to use Zoom and other online platforms! But, for sure, these skills will remain important, both in education and in the workplace. So students should see their experiences in these areas as an opportunity to be ready for the future!
Southern Oregon University
School of Business
Katie Pittman Ph.D.: I think that the most significant trend we'll see in the job market, coming from the pandemic, is a greater willingness and acceptance of remote work and flexible working arrangements. We've already seen announcements from several of the major tech companies, and I expect that many other organizations will follow suit, at least in terms of allowing for more flexible work arrangements for many segments of administrative and tech/info systems workers -- regardless of industry.
Katie Pittman Ph.D.: Artificial intelligence is already having a significant impact in the area of predictive analytics. I like to describe MIS as a field that lies in the middle of a business/computer science continuum, both in the study and practice. While an MIS graduate may not be the one that develops AI algorithms, they will need to know how to apply AI tools and interpret and present results.
AI also holds great promise in automating repetitive tasks. This is an area where MIS graduates are a good fit, given their understanding of workflow and business processes combined with programming and software skills. As automation tools supporting "white collar" tasks become more mainstream, we will need those with both business understanding and technical competencies to help lead the way.
Finally, the ability to generate insights from large data sets using data visualization tools (e.g., Tableau, MS PowerBI) continues to be a growth area and opportunity for MIS graduates.
Katie Pittman Ph.D.: Increase, given some of the reasons above.
Vidyanand Choudhary: Ideal MIS candidates are skilled in problem-solving, data analytics, management, specialized industry knowledge, programming skills, and security awareness. Technical skills are critical to getting into the MIS space. Still, it's equally essential for graduates to develop their emotional intelligence, such as self-awareness, listening, and leadership, to grow their careers over time.
Vidyanand Choudhary: As companies continue to expand their businesses to digital platforms, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10 percent employment outlook increase for computer and information systems managers between 2019 - 2029, which is well above the average other occupations. And with more emphasis being placed on the quality of life by the current and emerging workforce, the tech industry, for example, is seeing the growth of new hot spots within the U.S., including Austin and Dallas, TX; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; San Francisco and San Jose, California; Atlanta, Georgia, and Denver, Colorado.
Also, something to watch is how the Covid-19 remote workplace impacts job location going forward. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, we expect to see geography become somewhat less important to select MIS roles, if they can be done remotely from anywhere. This offers graduates an entirely new channel of opportunity.
Vidyanand Choudhary: Covid-19 has made companies realize that to survive during the pandemic and thrive after, they must rethink how they function. The epidemic has pushed technology forward, at lightning speed, where MIS-related considerations (programming, security, data mining, and analysis), coupled with a more remote workforce, pave the way for graduates to be in one of the most effective degree programs the next few years.
We have seen tremendous growth in large internet/e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Google. Other companies are busy adding digital components to their products. For example, Tesla's cars have a significant amount of software, and other firms move in the same direction. The growth in data science and AI is also offering new ways for firms to improve their processes and provide such services to customers. Finally, there is a growing realization of the importance of IT security, and that should also boost demand for MIS majors.
Concordia University Irvine
School of Business & Economics
Kim Chatani: The career path for graduating students is full of unpredictability, as we have seen during this COVID 19 pandemic. In addition to academic excellence, graduates will face challenges that will test their core principles and beliefs. My advice is to view each challenge you meet with a long-term perspective while addressing the immediate concerns in a balanced way. Your career will span decades, and what you may face during the first several years will only be a fraction of your professional career. View how your immediate decision may impact you in the long-term.
Kim Chatani: It is hard to predict technological advancement in the future. However, mobility and securities around new technologies will be at the forefront of many industries. Technology will continue to evolve at a much faster pace. Although you may not need to understand the "bites" behind the technology, approach these emerging technologies with business and risk management perspectives. How will these technologies impact my company and my industry? What new risk may they present while addressing business opportunities? A curious and inquisitive mind will serve you well.
Kim Chatani: Starting salaries will continue to increase but will be more dictated by supply and demand for the skill sets that graduates will provide. The current COVID 19 pandemic has put traditional thinking on its head. Employers will be evaluating employee skills in a multi-dimensional plane, competency, mobility, and transferability.
Jim Drinkwine: Employers consistently say they want graduates with strong people skills. While technical skills are good, being able to work effectively in group settings is more important. I hear from students all the time about how much they dislike group projects for several reasons. However, the topic of the group project isn't as crucial as the teamwork skills you develop as a part of this type of learning. Take every opportunity you can to develop strong skills in interpersonal communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.
Jim Drinkwine: This is a hard question to answer for someone with a business degree. That's because business is a very flexible area of study and can be used in so many industries - from accounting to finance to marketing to even running a yoga studio. While several areas are seeing a lot of growth (the Phoenix area, the Bay Area, Boston, Austin, TX, Boise, ID...) where you want to work depends on the type of work you want, cost of living, and the kind of lifestyle you're looking for. Something else to consider in today's work world is the ability to work remotely. While some businesses are trying to bring employees back to the office, others have already said remote work will continue into 2021. Some jobs have been converted to permanent remote work.
Jim Drinkwine: Technology is impacting different jobs in different ways. Look at Amazon, where there are hundreds of thousands of robots working in the warehouses. In addition to robots, drones and autonomous vehicles are changing how businesses deliver and receive products. Yet, in many healthcare, hospitality, and service careers, people remain critical. However, even these jobs are being impacted by technology. Over the last several months, video conferencing has replaced face-to-face meetings for many of us; this includes medical appointments. Point of sale systems and check-out kiosks are connecting sales to inventory. In many areas around the US, a lack of reliable high-speed internet creates parts of the country that can't advance as quickly. Fixing this will take a significant and long-term investment in infrastructure that includes launching 5G.