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Business skills are more important than ever post-Brexit

by James Prior, Business Consultant and Founder of Flying Start XP

September 1 2016 - It doesn't take a genius to notice that the axis of the business world shifted dramatically when the UK voted for Brexit. As David Dimbleby solemnly announced that the decision in 1975 to join the Common Market "had been reversed", it was a watershed moment, and one for which seasoned business people were surprisingly unprepared for. Indeed, our very own government leaders appeared shocked by the result and even those in support of a leave vote seemed to quickly disappear off-stage in our hour of need, making an already nervous market even more jittery.

If the people who are supposed to hold the reigns of the business world are unsure of their ground, how on earth must young people feel when faced with the prospect of getting on the corporate job ladder? Given that times were already tough for new graduates in finding gainful and suitable employment, it's fair to say that conditions have only got tougher.

The Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI), suggested that economic activity fell at its fastest rate since 2009 following Brexit. So if companies are nervous of buying, these figures would seem to indicate that they're also nervous of recruiting and expanding or agreeing new projects requiring new talent.

A recent survey from CBI and Pearson's revealed that for potential employees, possessing the skills to compete in the working world is now more vital than ever following Brexit, meaning graduates are going to find it even harder to secure employment with a degree alone. Indeed, a recent study of graduate employment revealed 85% of employers have experienced problems with graduate recruitment, the most common of which was cited as poor-quality applicants by nearly half of respondents (46%). It was felt that graduates lacked the basic business skills needed to be successful in the workplace. A fairly damning indictment. So, with companies wary of employing fresh out of university for fear of the uncertainty that they bring, and the economy in a limbo of sorts, it's only set to become an even more difficult market in which graduates will need to quickly make an impression and take it upon themselves to gain business skills from the get go.

Graduates, for the most part, for all their academic knowledge and skills, traditionally require a settling in period in any organisation in order to hone their soft skills and learn the corporate dance - something that there will be less time for now that businesses need employees to be able to perform from day one. However, whilst they are academically able, graduates often lack the confidence and ability to demonstrate their potential straightaway. That's why it is critical for new graduates to get themselves business ready in advance of entering the workforce, so that they not only fit in but are able to hit the ground running and be accountable as soon as they walk in.

The graduates who will do well in this difficult and competitive market are those who are able to learn deeper business practices quickly, like how to create impact and when not to; how to work a room, how to network and read situations and people to their own and the company's best advantage. Many new graduates are not naturally astute in a business environment and though they may be aware of what is going on around them, it does not mean they are able to ask the right questions that will add value rather than drain time and energy. Learning how to walk in the shoes of a client and anticipate and understand their requirements from a business perspective, whilst still being able to promise delivery within the confines of their role and the business, are all skills that have not traditionally been taught outside of the workplace until now.

The graduates who are able to discover their strengths and recognise any weaknesses they need to work on, ahead of entering the workplace will be in a much stronger position to standout within this competitive marketplace, gain and maintain employment and ultimately climb the ladder of success much quicker.

Inexperienced graduates take time to make the transition from university to corporate life, but with the proper experiential training, this transition time is dramatically shortened, allowing graduates to progress their careers more quickly and begin to pay off the investment made in gaining their degree in the first place. In the wake of Brexit it is imperative that graduates do all they can to get ahead of the game and give themselves the best possible chance at becoming a success. That is why we created Flying Start XP which teaches real business skills through an immersive and interactive week long course.



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