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Arkansas State University

The Business Skills Companies Are Looking For

These are uncertain times for the modern worker. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment was historically low, yet markets were volatile and unpredictable. Rapid developments in technology required continuous learning and skill acquisition for professionals across industries. The pandemic has forced even more dramatic shifts, demanding businesses embrace organizational change in new and unexpected ways.

The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration online program at Arkansas State University (A-State) helps students take these times head on. The factors of the modern world, rise of the gig economy and ever-changing consumer expectations and market trends has greatly impacted business strategy, leadership and management practices.

The A-State B.S. in Business Administration online program’s focus on creative thinking and leadership prepares students to use innovation to develop businesses’ resilience in the face of uncertainty and change.

What Has Changed About the Skills Employers Look For?

Although the differentiation is somewhat arbitrary, employers value both “hard” and “soft” skills. Hard skills, such as technical, trade-specific, or traditional business skills, were once considered essential for success as an employee.

Yet the evolution of the digital age, rapid innovation, uncertain economic conditions and changing business models have underscored the importance of soft skills. These abilities are based in less tangible or quantifiable attributes surrounding interpersonal relationships, leadership, critical thinking and creativity.

As technologies advance and shifting markets demand pivoting across operations, both hard and soft skills will be important for every business professional.

What Hard Skills Do Employers Value Most?

Modern businesses rely on advanced computer technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, business intelligence tools and collaborative software to improve decision-making, teamwork, efficiency and productivity (and execute basic operations). This is true for most every industry. Hence, today’s employers want employees to have advanced digital technology skills appropriate to their job duties and requirements.

Foundational business knowledge related to sales, finance, accounting, strategy development and marketing is also highly valued. Developing these skills is still necessary for effectively fulfilling one’s responsibilities in both specialized and managerial roles.

Modern business and traditional technology talents are largely transferable between roles, departments and industries. Holding a number of hard skills allows employees to excel in increasingly cross-functional positions common to modern business.

What Soft Skills Are Important to Employers?

Building on a foundation of traditional business and hard skill development, A-State’s B.S. in Business Administration online program emphasizes transferable soft skills like communication and teamwork. The study of leadership is central to the business administration degree program, focusing on communication (oral and written), motivation, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, team-based collaboration and more.

As evidenced by the National Association of Colleges and Employer’s (NACE) “Job Outlook 2019” survey, oral/written communication, critical thinking/problem-solving, teamwork/collaboration and leadership all ranked among the top employer-valued competencies highlighted by this survey. These abilities help leaders adapt, innovate and work together toward achieving common goals.

The above factors highlight the value of a comprehensive business education for providing the hard- and soft-skill development today’s employers seek.

Learn more about A-State’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration online program.


Cleverism: Top Skills and Values Employers Seek From Job-Seekers

LinkedIn Talent Blog: The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020

National Association of Colleges and Employers: The Four Career Competencies Employers Value Most

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