Bloomberg annually surveys the recruiters on the lookout for top MBA talent to assess the skills that are most valued in managers and how the new recruits deliver. In The Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2016: What Recruiters Want, Bloomberg reached out to 1,251 job recruiters at 547 companies to understand and compile the skills they look out for, and whether they are successful in finding them. The report also calculated the individual performance of some 103 B-schools worldwide, and scored their performance on a 1-5 scale for teaching skill, to establish which schools were best equipping the graduates in required skills. For this latter part, the recruiters only judged schools they were familiar with, and they skills that were relevant for them.
The report is based in the Bloomberg’s employer survey, which was conducted as a part of 2015 Full-Time MBA Rankings in June-August of 2015. The recruiters were from 11 industries, namely, Consulting (20.9%), Financial Services (21.2%), Manufacturing (8.4%), Energy (6.3%), Technology (14.8%), Consumer Products (8.2%), Healthcare (6.4%), Retail (3.8%), Transportation (3.5%), Pharmaceuticals (3.7%), and Chemicals (2.8%). The qualified recruiters were asked to pick, from a list of 14 skills, the five most critical ones, and also the five hardest ones to find during MBA recruiting. They were also asked to identify upto 10 B-Schools wherein they had a ‘significant recruiting experience’ in the last five years, and also to rate how a schools’ graduates performed on a specific skill set. A unique insight to the report is the identification of ‘sweet spot’ skills, which are the skills that have been identified as the most desired but hardest to find. The report excluded alumni ratings from their report to reduce the alumni induced bias. Here are some of the top findings from the report:
- Across industries, the most desired skills identified were communications skills (67.3%), analytical skills (62%), working collaboratively (56.2%) and strategic thinking (53.4%).
- The skills, across all industries, that were hardest to discover are strategic thinking (43%), creative problem solving (42.8%), leadership skills (42%) and adaptability (40.5%).
- Skills like Entrepreneurship (9.8%), Global Mindset (10.6%), Work Experience (14.2%), Risk Taking (15.7%) and Decision-making (19.8%) scored lowest in terms of demand by recruiters. Some of the skills that featured in this category defied the current general overview of the global and national industries.
- The most prevalent and easy to find skills were Quantitative Skills, Entrepreneurship, Working Collaboratively and Global Mindset.
- The ‘sweet spot’ skills, namely the ones that are most desired, yet hardest to find are leadership skills, strategic thinking, communications skills and creative problem solving.
The report also highlighted the difference in priority of skill set according to the recruiter, for example, in the energy industry, analytical thinking is the most important skill, and entrepreneurship and risk taking are the least important skills, whereas leadership skills are the hardest to find, and entrepreneurship is easiest (or less difficult). Similarly, in finance, communication skills are most important, and global mindset is least important. Technology recruiters also placed communications skills and analytical thinking as the most desired skills, and listed Global Mindset as the least desired skill, whereas the same set of recruiters also found creative problem solving to be the toughest to find skill.
The report also evaluated the top 3 schools for various skill set within different industries. For example in consulting, the top 3 schools with graduates with strong communication skills were USC Marshall, UVA Daren, and UT-Austin McCombs; strategic thinking are UT-Austin McCombs, Michigan Ross, and Chicago Booth and for creative problem solving: UC Berkeley Haas, Michigan Ross, and Northwestern Kellogg. The report lists the top universities according to each skill and industry in a similar manner.
The report gives detailed and revelationary insights into the demand of the global recruiter, and also juxtaposes that information with the actual skills that they find. The report is an exhaustive resource material to classify B-schools into categories according to the skills they are imparting to their graduates. Although one might question the surprising findings that rate skills like entrepreneurship and global mindset lowly, which are otherwise assumed to be important today, the report has definitely made all the different groups involved sit up and take notice. The inter-disciplinary nature of the report, which talks about different, yet pertinent industries, makes the report relevant for every student, recruiter and educator to serve as a guide to every recruiter, educator and student of today, to locate strengths and weaknesses within, and align them according to the environment they exist in.