SHARE
COPY LINK
PRESENTED BY GETSMARTER

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects

The pace of change in today's workplaces can seem daunting for anyone. That's especially true if you’ve moved abroad for professional or personal reasons and you’re still adjusting to a new working culture.

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects
Photo: Getty Images

But is it really time for millions of us to make way for the robots? Evidence suggests that in fact demand is growing for interpersonal human skills, as well as technological know-how. 

One thing is for sure: whatever aspect of yourself you wish to improve, finding the time is not easy! The Local has teamed up with GetSmarter, which provides online education courses in collaboration with leading universities such as the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), to offer you five ways you can boost your career prospects in 100 hours or less. 

Need a career boost? Find out about the MBA Essentials online certificate course from LSE and GetSmarter

1. Work on your ‘soft skills’

If you fear being left behind by today’s rapidly changing world, you’re not alone. But did you know that experts say essential human skills are becoming more rather than less important in the workplace?

It’s a “common misconception” that you won’t be able to thrive without advanced technological or scientific skills, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). This idea is also supported by a survey of business leaders in Europe and North America carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute to identify the skills that would be most in-demand by 2030. 

It found the need for social and emotional skills will increase during the 2020s, alongside demand for technological expertise.  

Defining and measuring ‘soft skills’ is less than straightforward. But creativity tops a recent LinkedIn list of the soft skills companies most need, followed by persuasion and collaboration. So, if 2020 has sapped your spirit, spend some time indulging your creative side!

2. Show some empathy and EQ!

A new entry in the LinkedIn list this year was ‘emotional intelligence’. This quality includes self-awareness, social skills, empathy and motivation. If you’re sceptical, be aware that some employers ask job applicants probing questions designed to measure your EQ (emotional quotient).

You can sharpen your EQ by embracing criticism as a learning opportunity and exploring the ‘why’ in every situation, says LinkedIn.

Never heard of ‘digital body language’? Amid the rise in remote working due to Covid-19, experts also advise that striking the right tone of voice in emails and texts is more important than ever. If you live abroad, you’re probably already wary of potential misunderstandings but thinking in terms of emotional intelligence as well as language may be wise.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Get proactive about lifelong learning

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that 10,000 hours of practice is the key to achieving greatness. But that’s three hours per day for a decade! 

You may already have missed your chance to make a living as a chess grandmaster or a virtuoso on the violin. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be serious about lifelong learning.

Want to be a lifelong learner? Take your first step with MBA Essentials from LSE and GetSmarter 

The WEF has called for a “global reskilling revolution”. It says organisations should encourage their workers to keep developing – but that each of us can also “take responsibility for upgrading our skills”. According to the WEF Future of Jobs Report, highly-skilled workers are most likely to be hired, retrained – and receive pay rises.

Of course, dedicating yourself to lifelong learning will require significant amounts of time over the years. But imagine what you could gain if you spent the first 100 hours (that’s one percent of 10,000 hours!) addressing one of your weaknesses … 

4. Don’t give up on digital tech …

Demand for basic tech skills, as well as advanced capabilities, will rise sharply by 2030, according to McKinsey. So while it’s easy to feel the future belongs to coders, AI programmers and blockchain developers, you really can make a good impression without mastering Python or Java! 

As automation advances, people with a sophisticated understanding of digital technology will be very much in the minority. Remember that spending some time continuing to improve your basic digital skills could make all the difference at a job interview or when seeking a promotion.  

5. Just Get Smarter! 

Given the chance to return to studying or do some intensive training, you could no doubt boost your career outlook. But just how do you find the time these days?

Well, one way is to take on a challenge such as the MBA Essentials online certificate course from the world-renowned LSE. In just ten weeks (and around 95 hours of total learning), you’ll develop a better understanding of the complexities of today’s business environment – and gain skills and insights designed to help you lead with confidence.

You’ll get a personalised and flexible learning experience, entirely online – and which you can plan around your existing commitments as you tick off weekly milestones.

Delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter, the course is guided by LSE faculty who teach MBA-focused skills covering strategy, finance, and people. 

Impatient to improve yourself and move forward in the business world even quicker? Check out these online certificate courses also offered by LSE and GetSmarter: Business, International Relations and the Political Economy (80 hours of learning in eight weeks) and Competitive Strategy and Innovation (70 hours in eight weeks).

Learn from a world-leading social science university in your own time: click here to find out more about the MBA Essentials online certificate course.

 

 

EDUCATION

English-language programmes at Danish universities face cuts

Denmark's government has agreed on a plan to significantly reduce the number of courses offered in English in the country's universities.

English-language programmes at Danish universities face cuts
Life sciences faculty hold an open house at Copenhagen University. The university is now expected to reduce admissions as part of a plan to decentralise higher education in Denmark. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt / Ritzau Scanpix

At the end of June, the plan aims to reduce the number of English-language higher education programmes while also expanding educational opportunities outside of Denmark’s major cities.

The exact number of courses to be cut – and where they will be cut – depends on the future employment of graduates.

Cuts to English-language programmes

The reduction of English-language programmes at institutions of higher education is rooted in an effort to reduce rising costs of state educational grants (SU) in Denmark. Despite attempts to reduce SU expenses, the cost is expected to rise to 570 million kroner by 2025, far above the cap of 449 million kroner set in 2013. 

There are a number of cases in which non-Danish citizens are entitled to SU, from moving to Denmark with one’s parents, marrying a Danish citizen, residing in Denmark for more than 5 years, status as a worker in Denmark, and more.

The reduction is targeted at English-language programmes where few English-speaking students find employment in Denmark after graduation, according to Denmark’s Ministry of Education and Research. 

Among the targeted programmes are business academies and professional bachelor programmes, where 72 percent of students are English-speaking and only 21 percent find work in Denmark after completing their education. 

However, programmes where higher proportions of English students enter the Danish workforce, and those that have a unique significance on the regional labour market, will be exempt from the reduction. This amounts to 650 education institutions around the country. 

In 2016, students demonstrated against cuts in SU. Photo: Emil Hougaard / Ritzau Scanpix

The agreement also establishes a financial incentive for institutions that graduate English-speaking students who remain to work in Denmark.

According to a June 10 analysis from consulting firm Deloitte, EU students who receive higher education in Denmark contribute an average of nearly 650,000 kroner to Denmark’s public coffers over a lifetime. 

However, the report notes, a student’s positive or negative contribution depends on how long they stay in Denmark. Although students who leave Denmark shortly after graduating constitute a cost to the Danish state, the analysis found that the contribution of students who stay in Denmark to work offsets the cost of those who leave.

The analysis expressed concern that reducing opportunities for English-language higher education could “have a number of unintended negative consequences,” including deterring students who might stay in Denmark to work from moving in the first place. There’s also the risk that it will become more difficult to recruit foreign researchers to Danish universities, which could impact education quality, the analysis claims.

The UCN professional school in Thisted is expected to open one new training program as a result of the decentralisation plan. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Decentralisation of Danish education

The plan to decentralise higher education in Denmark not only expands educational opportunities outside of Denmark’s major cities, but it also aims to reduce enrollment in higher education within major cities by 10 percent by 2030 (but not more than 20 percent).

For example, a law programme will be established in Esbjerg, a medical programme in Køge and a veterinary programme in Foulum.

Minister of Education and Research Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said the goal was to offer students educational opportunities regardless of where they live within Denmark and strengthen the economy outside of major cities. 

However, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Dansk Erhverv, expressed concern that the decentralisation plan doesn’t factor in labour demands within Denmark’s major cities.

Mads Eriksen, head of education and research policy at Dansk Erhverv, said it was “unwise” for programmes to reduce acceptance rates to in-demand fields in that particular city. 

“They are trying to solve a problem with labour in the countryside, but at the same time they are creating labour problems in the cities,” Eriksen said. “The English-language programme cuts are far more aligned with the demands of the labour market.”

Denmark has utilised unemployment-based admission for higher education since 2015. Programmes whose graduates experience unemployment consistently 2 percent higher than average are subject to a 30 percent admission cut.

Eriksen thinks it shouldn’t be a matter of reducing admissions across several universities by

“For example, we have five philosophy education programmes in Denmark, each of which have high unemployment rates among graduates,” Eriksen said, referencing a recent Dansk Erhverv analysis

He would prefer to see resources concentrated into making a couple of those programmes the best they can be and closing the rest, versus reducing admissions in all five programmes. “We have to be ready to close programmes that continue to have high unemployment, not just reduce them.”

In 2018, the University of Southern Denmark closed one English-language program and converted two from English to Danish. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen / Ritzau Scanpix

Opposite impacts on provincial institutions

Gitte Sommer Harrits, vice chancellor at VIA University College, shared concern that although the decentralised education aspect of the plan aims to increase the number of students at provincial universities, the reduction of English-language programmes is likely to have the opposite effect.

A report from the organisation Akademikerne in early June found that international students have played a significant role filling educational institutions outside of Danish cities. Nine of the 10 educational institutions with the largest proportion of English-speaking students are outside the country’s largest cities. 

The University of Southern Denmark in Sønderborg has the highest proportion of international students; 40 percent of its 628 students are not affiliated with Denmark or other Nordic countries. 

While significantly larger with nearly 37,000 students, Copenhagen University has 5.2 percent international students.

Already in 2018, the University of Southern Denmark closed one English-language programme and converted two others from English to Danish after the Danish government ordered universities to reduce the number of international students.

Harrits said she found the possible closure of English-language programmes drawing international students to provincial areas to be puzzling when paired with the intention to decentralise education.

SHOW COMMENTS