Leading business students expect technology will boost, not threaten, their careers
Top university business students competing in the finals of KPMG’s International Case Competition (KICC) are extremely bullish that technology will enhance their work lives and experience. All of the students expect technology will have a significant and positive impact on their careers, with more than half anticipating that it will radically change the work they do -- none expects the impact to be negative.
The 88 students, from leading universities in 22 countries, were surveyed in advance of the KICC finals competition taking place this week in Kuala Lumpur.
In the face of fears that technology could diminish or eliminate job opportunities, the students are highly confident that technology will open up new possibilities in their careers. When asked what the single biggest impact new technologies will have on their career experience, more than 35 percent expect it to enable them to do work that adds value or has a greater impact, while 21 percent see it providing the opportunity to focus on more interesting work and close to 20 percent, said it will enable them to constantly develop their skills and capabilities.
“These students recognize the incredible opportunity that technology and digitization, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and robotics, offers them. Harnessing that pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit is essential for growth in our markets,” said Susan Ferrier, Global Head of People, KPMG International. “Their ability to be early adopters and masters of new technologies, will make them even more valuable in solving difficult problems in the world – whether that be in business or society at large.”
Asked which three technologies will have the greatest influence on their careers over the next 10 years, the vast majority of students, 81 percent, identified AI, followed by blockchain and robotics, each identified by 59 percent. More than half said AI will elevate the level of responsibility for new graduates and almost 25 percent believe AI will expand the number of job opportunities.
The students also recognize there are key non-technical skills and values that will be essential in the workplace of the future. Almost two-thirds (61 percent) ranked problem solving as a top skill, followed by ability to learn (49 percent) and creativity (39 percent). Values they rank as most important included ethics (identified by 58 percent), responsibility (52 percent) and integrity (41 percent).
“The importance of non-technical skills and values will actually be amplified in an increasingly tech-driven world”, commented Iain McLaughlin, Head of Global Resourcing. “These students understand and recognize that there are a range of critical skills which will provide the foundations for their career, irrespective of the impact of technology, including, beyond their top three, communication, relationship-building and decision-making.
The KPMG International Case Competition (KICC) finals are taking place this week in Kuala Lumpur. Teams of four students from leading universities in 22 countries are competing in developing solutions for a number of real-world business case studies. Teams will be judged by a panel of senior KPMG partners from around the world.
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