How to get ahead in the job market – 2021 style

In 2021, aspiring executives face new, unpredictable challenges. It’s more important than ever to have a career plan that maps out where you want to be and the skills you need to get there. But it’s essential that those skills meet the ever-changing demands of global business. 

Jobs in demand in 2021 

The jobs in demand in 2021 are emerging into a clear pattern. According to IESE’s latest Employment Report, the consulting sector remains the most popular destination for MBA graduates, with technology and digital disruption also continuing to dominate the playing field. 

There’s a very good reason for this, according to Patrick Wallen, executive director of IESE’s Career Development Center 

In the face of the pandemic, tech is taking over industries like retail and transport, he says. “We’re also seeing a clear pattern in the positions that are available, with structured organizations like consulting and banking taking on talent at the highest levels, but fastmoving consumer goods and high-street retail really suffering.” 

And, he adds, recruiters are looking for a specific set of skills, regardless of sector. “People are looking for potential, more than anything, with a really strong growth mindset,” says Wallen. 

 Recruiters want people with the ability to deal with uncertainty, flexibility, and candidates who don’t just embrace change, but thrive on it and deliver results, time after time.” 

 

Patrick Wallen, IESE Career Development Center executive director. 

So what does this mean for young talent looking for job opportunities in 2021? 

Job opportunities in 2021

Coronavirus has transformed the recruitment landscape, with video interviews, virtual assessments and short-term projects replacing in-person appraisals for long-term posts. But, says Wallen, this can be an advantage. 

“The positive aspect of the new way of working is that distance is no object,” he points out. “Unstructured recruiting is down by a significant amount: there’s a lot less rotation, people aren’t leaving their rolesBut the big international companies are still operating their management programs, so these are the obvious choice for MBA and Master in Management graduates. 

Discover in this article why to study and MBA. 

 

With the distance barrier removed, recruiters have a much wider talent pool to choose from. But although travel isn’t an option, networking is essential – as is a healthy dose of reality. 

With so much strong competition applying for the top jobs, you have to ask yourself if you’re the right person for the role,” says Wallen. “You either have it or you don’t – and if you don’t have it, don’t apply. 

What’s more important, he says, is knowing where you can add value and what you can bring to the table.  

You need to really widen the searchNetworking is essential, you need to find the correct people that can refer you in a company and not wait for a response from HR. You need to differentiate yourself and show your value proposition to the company. Find the opportunities that do suit you and convince the recruiter that you’re the right person for the job. 

What recruiters are looking for in 2021 

In an uncertain global business landscape, recruiters value leadership potential over all else. 

“Potential leaders need to understand how their decisions impact the business,” says Wallen. “MBA and MiM graduates have that rounded business perspective and understand operations as well as balance sheets.” 

In IESE’s latest Employment Report, 33% of students made the triple jump,” changing their industry, function and geography. It’s a flexible, committed attitude that’s essential for future leaders, says Wallen.  

“Recruiters value motivated people who can not only do the job, but are proactive, with fresh ideas and don’t wait to be told what to do. They’re looking for humble people, who understand that they still have things to learn and are prepared to make the changes necessary to meet global business demands. 

“The MBA and the MiM teach you how to negotiate an ever-changing business landscape and equip you with the skills you need to adapt. But the hard work doesn’t end when you graduate. You have to find your own opportunities and prove that you’re up to the challenge.”  

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