The 21st century employee is innovative, creative, ethical and never stops learning
Photo: William Iven / Unsplash
Anna Torres Garrote

The employee skills most highly valued by companies today are related to team work, problem solving, communication skills and digital skills. This is according to the studies The Future of Work: Jobs and skills in 2030 and The Future of Jobs. Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016). Two UOC professors explain which digital skills are considered essential for work today.

According to Montse Guitert, Director of the UOC Digital Skills programme, the technological skills demanded by companies are:

  • An ability to search and critically select information on the Internet. Efficient use of the Internet’s potential to search and recover digital information in a critical way.
  • Processing and preparing digital information. Creating and editing digital content in different formats, applying the most suitable medium in each case.
  • Presentation and dissemination of information on the Internet. Presenting and disseminating digital content on the Internet in an efficient way, using the most appropriate digital channels.
  • Digital technology: Knowing and identifying the most suitable digital technologies for performing tasks and problem solving.
  • Planning of online study and work. Time management strategies which use the potential of digital technologies to study and work at different times.
  • Communication and collaboration on the Internet. Applying the appropriate languages and strategies to communicate and collaborate on the Internet in an effective way by selecting the most suitable tools.
  • Digital attitude. Display an ethical attitude, respecting digital identity and reputation, applying security principles on the Internet and awareness of the current Internet legislation.

Digital skills are cross-disciplinary and “necessary for any profession in today’s world”, Guitert explains. Consequently, “it will be increasingly difficult” for people without digital skills “to have the opportunity to enter” the job market, she adds.

Official skills accreditation

This situation has even led the Government of Catalonia to create a certificate relating to the definition of the ICT skills required in society today: Accreditation of Skills in Information and Communication Technologies (ACTIC). This certificate is “very useful” in job searches, since it makes recruitment processes easier when evaluating the digital skills of a candidate for a specific post, the expert explains.

At the UOC, in order to align student education more closely with the requirements of the job market, passing the ICT Skills, course, which is compulsory on all degree courses, allows students to obtain the equivalent of this certificate. The UOC is the only university in Catalonia and Spain which offers this recognition.

What are headhunters looking for?

Headhunters interviewed by the UOC Faculty of Economics and Business explain that the cross-disciplinary skills required to cope in the company environment are interdisciplinary team work, dealing with ambiguity, collaboration, the capacity to influence, the capacity to analyse and engagement. To these skills, Eva Rimbau, professor of Human Resources at the UOC, adds ethical commitment, critical thinking, creativity and the ability for continuous learning. According to Rimbau, "they are essential in order for the graduate to be constantly evolving, and therefore able to deal with the new situations and demands they will encounter".

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is for employees who are “highly qualified and have a great capacity for adaptation, flexibility and continued learning”, Rimbau says.

Leading companies and headhunters value the profile of graduates from online universities

Graduates coming from the virtual teaching-learning environment of the UOC are well-positioned in terms of employability. This is according to the study The competency profile of online BMA graduates viewed from a job market perspective, a piece of research by the UOC and EADA Business School. Employers value many skills that are developed to a greater degree in distance courses, such as the capacity to organize and plan work and the degree of effort required, given that the vast majority of graduates of online courses have had to combine university studies with a job or family life, which limits the number of hours they are able to study.



Photograph of Montse Guitert Catass

Montse Guitert Catass

Lecturer in the IT, Multimedia and Telecommunications Department
Director of the Multimedia and Communication programme
Director of the university master's degree programme in Digital Empowerment

Expert in: ICT and teaching; ICT applied to training; educational technology and e-learning; collaborative work in virtual environments; virtual teacher training; teachers, ICT and digital skills training; multimedia teaching materials; strategies.

Knowledge area: ICT and education, trainer training and digital skills training

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Photograph of Eva Rimbau Gilabert

Eva Rimbau Gilabert

Expert in: Human resources; telecommuting; virtual teams; flexible work; leadership; e-learning.

Knowledge area: Human resources.

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