These are the skills Australia’s innovative companies want from employees

With a changing economy comes evolving demands from companies seeking new skills from their workforce.

Or so you would think.

But instead of a heavy focus on the skills you’d normally associate with technology (STEM), the latest FY19 Commonwealth Bank Business Insights Report on the state of innovation in Australia reveals that the skills Australia’s most innovative businesses are looking for from workers takes a more human tilt.

That’s easy to understand when you think about the key driver of many of the changes we are seeing spread from the retail sector – where Amazon has changed the conversation – out and through other industries.

It’s all about the customer.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Business Insights Report overwhelmingly shows that tech is seen as crucial among companies seeking to better personalise, communicate with, service, and deliver to their customers. But at the end of the day, employers are still looking for “soft skills”.

Source: Commonwealth Bank Business Insights Report FY19

“Despite a clear desire among surveyed businesses to develop technology skills, the research indicates that organisations place equal, if not more, value on soft skills such as adaptability, communication and critical thinking. This aligns with the earlier finding that customer factors – meeting customer expectations and enhancing the customer experience – are the most powerful opportunity or threat in driving change. Indeed, it is also responding to customer demand and meeting customer needs that is the most commonly cited rationale for building their skill base,” the Commonwealth Bank said in its report.

Source: Commonwealth Bank Business Insights Report FY19

That’s not to say technology1 and digital2 skills aren’t important. Clearly they are, with 41% and 31% of employers saying they are the skills their organisations are looking to develop in coming years respectively.

That suggests a pathway for those at school, university, or in the workforce looking to improve their job prospects and career success. That is, becoming workers who can walk both sides of the street.

For businesses, the goal to develop both technology and soft skills across their workforce can be elusive. However, the technology skills appear to be more prevalent among younger workers, whereas older generations are better endowed with soft skills. This presents an opportunity to look at cross-generation training and lift the overall skills base for mutual benefit.

You can see the full report here.



1Digital skills were defined in the survey as using digital technologies to adapt existing platforms and channels and create new business applications.
2Technology skills were defined in the survey as using business hardware, software and applications.


This article has been prepared by Business Insider solely for information purposes based on the results of an online survey conducted, between September and October 2018, and analysed by ACA Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank and is not to be construed as a solicitation, an offer or a recommendation by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The information may be incomplete or not up to date and may contain errors and omissions. Any projections and forecasts are based on a number of assumptions and estimates, including future events and contingencies, which may be inaccurate. It must not be relied upon as financial product advice and is not Investment Research. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek the appropriate professional, including taxation advice. We believe that this information is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held based on the information available at the time of its compilation but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made.

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