What are the 5 key talent traits of businesses in the future?

For organisational growth continue and thrive as the entire economy switches into online mode, businesses will need to develop new talent muscles, hire new types of people and explore developing their existing people in new ways

As the internet continues to change the goal posts for many businesses, HR leaders need to work with their leadership teams to help them understand what tools and services are available online and how others are using them in order to save time and accelerate their personal and organisational growth, according to an innovation expert.

“We’re living in an autodidact’s paradise,” said Paul McCarthy, author of Online Gravity and adjunct associate professor at the University of New South Wales.

“There’s never been so much material readily available online in video format to expand our understanding of everything from practical matters like fixing your own washing machine to theoretical things like understanding concepts of machine learning from expert teachers from Stanford University.

McCarthy also said that connecting with students and start-ups is another key way to infuse these next-generation tools and habits into organisational culture.

“Harvard University has seen a tenfold growth in undergraduate enrolments in statistics classes in the past five years”

“Businesses need to be aware to continue to grow and thrive as the entire economy switches into online mode, they’ll need to develop new talent muscles, hire new types of people and explore developing their existing people in new ways,” he said.

“Engaging with more students and interns is a simple and proven way of traversing what is an inter-generational technology and business change.”

The internet and talent trends
Three billion people are now online and this is accelerating the diffusion of the economics of the web into all sectors of the economy, McCarthy said.

“I call this ‘online gravity’ and it’s very different to the way business works offline. Companies that succeed in this new era of globally connected businesses will need talent with a new generation of skills,” he said.

In research for his book, he examined the “talent signatures” of leading online gravity giants (such as Apple, Google and Amazon), how they differed from their offline counterparts (such as Walmart) and what talent will leading companies need in the future.

“At an ever increasing premium will be science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills with a particular emphasis on the use of data analytics and statistics,” he said.

“Harvard University has seen a tenfold growth in undergraduate enrolments in statistics classes in the past five years. This is where the smart money lives.

“This will come as no surprise to many working in the recruitment business, which would have seen a huge growth in technology placements over the last decade.”

“We’re living in an autodidact’s paradise”

What is perhaps less obvious, according to McCarthy, is a “second wave trend” of arts and social science skills combined with computer science.

“I call this renaissance talent and it may surprise some that there’s a significant number of visual arts, social science and communications majors working at the king of online mobility Apple – in fact seven times the number at IBM,” he said.

By analysing today’s top online companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, McCarthy found there were common talent traits which were distinctively different from those in the broader economy.

As a result, he said that businesses in the future will need more:

1. Computer scientists

2. Statisticians and economists

3. Artists and designers

4. Immigrants and outsiders

5. Self-directed learners

The Montessori-computer science-entrepreneur link
In his research, McCarthy also found that many founders of today’s top tech giants including Google, Amazon and Wikipedia were schooled using the Montessori method.

Further investigation found that students from Montessori schools (usually only primary school) are four times more likely to go on to study computer science.

“Montessori schools promote independent, self-directed learning at a time that suits the student,” said McCarthy.

“This promotes curiosity, creativity and a spirit of experimentation.

“Learning about how to play with and develop computer software is a natural extension and ideal environment to continue to expand on these fronts.”

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