A third of business school students believe they lack the digital skills for Industry 4.0 jobs

Posted on 6 May 2022 by The Manufacturer

Business school students about to enter the job market are concerned about their lack of digital skills when it comes to getting a job in Industry 4.0 - or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Key takeaways:

  • 30% fear that they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment in Industry 4.0.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 believe that skills such as data analytics and search engine marketing are now considered “entry-level” requirements
  • 71% also believe that senior leaders have a poor understanding of digital skills and Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 refers to the digitisation of manufacturing – or more specifically, how technologies such as IoT, machine learning and AI are working together to revolutionise production.

Highered, the online careers platform for the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), asked 1,060 business school students for their views on getting a job in Industry 4.0, whether they felt prepared and how their university/business school was supporting them.

When asked to rank skills they lacked most in preparing for Industry 4.0, 30% put “knowledge of digital skills” at number one. A further 15% cited “data analysis and interpretation” as number one, while 13% said “understanding of new and emerging technology” as number one. The respondents were less worried about a lack of skills in areas such as marketing and HR.

It’s also clear that job seekers believe that they need more than their university studies to land their preferred role. 86% stated that their university degree alone would not be enough to get them a job in their preferred industry.

When asked how universities/business schools could improve to help them get a job, 65% said: “integration of employment skills into degree programmes”. This was followed by “opportunities for internships” at 57% and “availability of consulting projects” at 55%.

Industrial,4.0,,Industrial,Worker,With,Protective,Mask,Welding,In,Factory. Credit: Shutterstock

30% of business school students fear that they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment in Industry 4.0. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Dr. Amber Wigmore Alvarez, Chief Talent Officer at Highered, comments:Employers such as Microsoft, Audi and Alibaba have been developing Industry 4.0 practices for years, but it’s clear that business school students feel unprepared for this new reality.

“We know that the skills needed in many roles have a shorter lifespan than ever before. If we are going to help them find jobs in the new digital economy, they need career development and training that’s tailored to employer requirements but is also personalised to their level of skills. Partnerships between universities, business schools and employers will be critical.”

The survey showed that business school students are more positive about landing a job than in previous years. Compared to a year ago, nearly half (49%) said they were “more confident” about securing employment.

But when asked what emotion best summed up their job search, the top answer was “concerned” (30%), followed by “excited” (20%) and “interested” (16%). More women (18%) than men (13%) reported feeling concerned.

Highered’s study was conducted among 1,060 business school students (undergraduates and postgraduates), representing 111 nationalities living in 96 countries. 50.5% of the respondents were female, and 48.3% were male.