Educational Innovation: 21st Century Skills Required for Today’s Job Market

In today’s competitive job market, candidates are distinguished not only by the academic degree they hold but by the set of skills this academic degree has formed. As educators in higher education, our role is to prepare students for the workforce. We aim to equip our students with the essential knowledge and skills needed not only to enter the workforce but to excel in their roles.

The job market is evolving, which creates the need for new skill sets that were irrelevant a few years back. For instance, corporations from different sectors worldwide implement digital transformation in their projects and operations. This raises the importance of embarking on digital skills and digital literacy. Digital skills are no longer tied to a single industry, such as information technology or computing; they are now needed in almost every single industry.

Global competitive markets position creativity and innovative thinking skills on the front line. To thrive in the challenging business environment, there is a rising need to continuously introduce innovative products and services. In this vein, employees with creative thinking skills are assets for organizations across various sectors.

Another essential skill for job candidates in the 21st century is data analytics. Managers nowadays are keen to make decisions backed by profound research and real-time data. Research skills are crucial for practitioners and a value-added skill for job candidates.

Communication skills are timeless. Effective communication is a key success factor at all levels from individuals to teams and up to an organizational level. With the onset of digital communication, it is increasingly important to maintain decent in-person communication skills. In-person communication includes active listening as well as public speaking skills. Moreover, effective communication stems from emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Possessing the skills to build strong collaborative corporate networks, and the ability to ethically manage the politics of the workplace are vital for candidates aiming to climb the corporate ladder.

As educators at the American University of Bahrain (AUBH), it is our responsibility to equip our students with the skills needed to adapt to a working environment. We place a great focus on experiential learning and through our industry links, we provide students with hands-on experience in different corporate projects.

We also ensure that students elevate their digital and data analysis skills through our technology and research-embedded programs and curriculums. Moreover, through the introduction of creative learning activities, we stimulate our students’ innovative thinking skills. We are also keen to create an environment that is conducive to learning and pushes our students towards achieving their full potential, thus, enabling them to outperform in their chosen fields.

About the author: Dr. Maryam Hashem, is the Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at the American University of Bahrain (AUBH)


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