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Three Experts Discuss The Secret To Career Growth In Modern Business

The Secret To Career Growth In Modern Business
  • Apr 20 2020
9 minutes to read

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The modern business environment is changing rapidly, driven by the almost-overnight COVID-19 outbreak. This change is not only threatening to business leaders, who are increasingly unsure about what the future may hold. It’s also creating anxiety in many organisations because of how these developments are fundamentally changing the way we do business:

The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence brings the promise of higher productivity (and with productivity, economic growth), increased efficiencies, safety, and convenience. But these technologies also raise difficult questions about the broader impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages, and the nature of work itself.

Whether you are a business leader, entrepreneur, employee or student, there’s no avoiding this change. This leads us to one critical question: how do I stay relevant and improve my career growth in such an uncertain business environment?

No matter where you turn, proactive lifelong learning is key

This is how the CEO of Upwork, Stephane Kasriel, described the importance of proactive learning

Given this situation, people in the workforce should proactively steer their own ongoing skills development. In other words, recognize that you need ongoing training, and realize that you hold the responsibility for your own education. Do that, and you can improve your marketability for years to come.

Dan Finnigan, President and CEO of Jobvite, wrote a piece for Inc.com that contained the ominous sub-heading “Think your days of studying ended in college? Think again. Today’s employees are tasked to further their educations–or face extinction”. This subheading drives home the importance of learning in this potentially threatening environment. He further unpacks his views below:

Here’s a cold, hard truth: Many of yesterday’s jobs don’t exist today, and many of today’s jobs won’t exist tomorrow. The more we innovate, the more we position ourselves for potential obsolescence. So what can you do as an employee intent on remaining relevant and productive far into the future?

You learn. Continuously.

Software engineers have known for years that they have to learn new programming languages and new technologies to land the best jobs. But this is happening all over the map now, in many functions that were never previously classified as technical. Look at marketing, for example. Once upon a time, generating new business involved cold calls and PR junkets and big print ads. Now it’s about machine learning algorithms that filter and match leads, and CMOs need statistical expertise and data analysis skills to stay competitive.

Anne Shaw spoke to Tony Barnard, an Associate Partner at IBM, who dove into the importance of learning, not just because of the benefits it offers on a personal level, but also because of what it offers your organisation as a whole:

Beyond keeping things fresh to sustain your professional creativity and passion, learning keeps you relevant in our ever-changing world. And, it’s arguably the best job security tool you could have, not to mention that achieving higher levels and honing new skills is a great argument for seeking promotions and raises at work.

“Organizations can’t keep transforming if their employees aren’t learning and their skills aren’t aligned with shifting business demands,” explains Toby, stressing the importance of creating an environment in which learning is encouraged and failure is safe as long as employees learn from it. 

“All managers should make learning a core goal for their employees. It’s directly related to their team’s and their company’s success,” he says. “Employees should get the time and support to achieve learning–and be recognized for it. 

His best advice for professional development? Take personal responsibility for your learning.

How business schools can help you upskill, long after you’ve completed your degree

As someone who completed their undergraduate degree and has been working for a number of years, either as a business leader, entrepreneur or employee in an organisation, you might be asking yourself “what’s my next step in my lifelong learning journey?”

The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) can help you answer that question. Our Programme Finder has been designed to identify courses that are relevant to you, helping secure your current position, or guiding your career on an upward trajectory.

And if you’re unsure about how you can fit formalised learning into your busy schedule, there’s no need to worry. If a full-time programme doesn’t suit your needs, many of USB’s programmes are available in modular and blended learning formats, enabling you to continue working while you study.

To find out more about the role USB can play in career growth in business, contact us today.

Our programme finder can assist you with finding the right business programme that’s right for you.

Find out more

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