The Millennial Career Dilemma Series Article 1: Key Skills for the Millennial Career Aspirant

By Shubika Bilkha


Today’s millennials are faced with an interesting career dilemma. The proliferation of the gig economy and the world of co-working has exacerbated the mundanity of a 9 to 5 desk job. Further, the rise of startup entrepreneurs to unicorns, as flashed daily across the media, has served as aspirational to a number of the under the 30s. They look for excitement, peer group social media recognition, and a feeling that they and their work matters to the organizational goals at large. They are tech-savvy, entitled, more confident and self-assured than any other generation that has previously been in the workforce.


The fact, however, remains that for continuity, sustainability, and career growth, the majority of jobs that are largely available are in ‘non-glamorous’ sectors and follow a traditional corporate hierarchy. While companies are working overtime to make their spaces and culture more attuned to the millennial or Gen Z mindset, they too seem to struggle to recruit the requisite talent. I have seen this repeatedly across my job roles that there continues to be an inherent disconnect in the expectations of employers and young aspirants.


In this constantly evolving and technologically advancing world, how then does a millennial prepare themselves to combat the job market and their own expectations?

From my experience, I have listed some of the key skill sets that the Gen Z or millennial career aspirant needs to acquire to keep themselves relevant:


  1. Communication Skills/Soft Skills


Having worked with a number of students over the last few years, I have seen the requirement for additional training when it comes to communication and basic soft skills. Educational systems in India focus essentially on academics and developing the technical skill sets in students without an emphasis on job-ready training. Irrespective of the job role and the company, employers look for candidates with strong communication skills, presentation skills and clarity of thought during the interview process


  1. Tech Savviness


In this technologically advancing world, it has become imperative that we constantly upgrade our technical skill sets. Whether it’s coding, or developing apps or bots, taking advantage of online programs and videos has become essential to ensure you remain ahead of the game


  1. Digital and Social Media


While the role of social media in the workplace is keenly debated, the role of the digital and social medium in our world today remains undisputed. From customer care to targeting to HR, using these platforms effectively and constructively has become an important skill.


  1. Resilience


At Columbia Business School, one of my professors said that the most useful skill set that you need to acquire in the world today is that of resilience. In a constantly evolving and disruptive world, flexibility, adaptability and forward thinking will be a big strength.


  1. Self-Motivation


As a member of the gig economy, startup ecosystem or a corporate employee, as we move towards an essentially mobile/flexible workplace, skills such as working remotely, managing your schedule, being accountable and collaborative will be important to succeed


Read: The Millennial Career Dilemma Series Article 2: What do I do with my life after graduation?


About the Author – Shubika Bilkha has an ideal blend of corporate experience and entrepreneurship in India and Internationally. Her experience of over 12 years spans the finance, technology, e-commerce, education and real estate sectors. As the Managing Director of two early-stage start-ups in technology and education, she has hands-on experience in strategy, execution, operations management, marketing, sales and customer experience, HR, recruitment, and finance.


Shubika is a published author and a prominent media spokesperson for the real estate and education sectors having contributed to publications, portals, panels/events, the radio and television channels in India. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.


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