Guest AuthorKarthik Subburaman

Skills and Competencies you need for your Career Success in 2017

By | Karthik Subburaman, Country Manager of ECC International (ECCI) and Apex Global Learning

Early last year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) declared that humanity is now experiencing the early stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a term that encompasses the way of life in this age of technological innovations.

One nugget of wisdom that can be derived from the WEF pronouncement is that this period is not changing what people from the First Industrial Revolution have been doing; rather, this revolutionary stage is changing the people themselves. What does this mean? The need to have the right kind of tools and resources to live life to the fullest remains mankind’s primary concern, and communities as a whole are constantly seeking ways to adapt well to the changes happening around them whether in governments, businesses, schools, at work, and so on.

Given this shift in the overall foundation of life, what skills and competencies are required of people to succeed in their career this year and in the not-so-distant future? Here are the most essential in the books of employers, job recruiters, and human resource experts:


Innovation is the name of the game in many businesses and organizations nowadays. Someone who can think out of the box will definitely stand out in a vast crowd of hopeful applicants. In fact, a number of big names in various industries – whether entrepreneurship, arts, or sciences – are great innovators who were not afraid to explore their ideas, no matter how unconventional they are.

In sum, being a creative thinker gives one an opportunity to grow in their chosen field, as outdated perceptions or attitudes are rid of to pave the way for new standards that bring about more positive results.

Technical expertise

Needless to say, one of the first things employers pay attention to when looking at resumes is the subject expertise of applicants. Apart from mastery of theoretical principles in tax accounting, for example, tax advisors are expected to know how to balance sheets, prepare tax reports, among others for their client companies.

It’s the combination of conceptual and practical competencies that matters in securing a sought-after job offer indeed.

Strong work ethics

A study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers titled “Job Outlook 2016” revealed that nearly 70% of employers gave premium weight on job applicants’ work ethics. By and large, a set of strong work ethics is marked by values such as hard work, self-reliance, reliability, and good morals.

It is, therefore, important for applicants and employees to nurture this attribute as early as possible in the early stages of their adult life and professional career.

Problem-solving abilities

The real test for employees lies in solving problems in the workplace—from the simplest to the most complex ones. Often, problem solving involves troubleshooting, critical thinking, and making sound judgment calls so that a difficult situation is resolved or becomes easier to handle before it blows out of proportion.

Unlike teachings in the university, the impact of problems in the workplace is real, and members of a unit or team would do well to try different methods instead of relying on a single formula to come up with the best solution for the issue at hand.

A high level of focus

Among critics, there’s a major setback to the technological revolution happening everywhere right now: it results in people relying more on automated processes and systems, causing them to lose their ability to concentrate.
What may seem to be a harmless typo error or formatting issues on an applicant’s resume, for example, sends a negative message to prospective employers that the applicant is not capable of paying attention to details.


Another distinguishing characteristic of technology is its fickleness. What’s making headlines today may soon be swept under the rug sooner than later. It’s important for employees, then, to keep up with the ever-changing directions of technology. Without this sense of flexibility or adaptability, one might find it hard to cope with the demands at work, decreasing their productivity in the long run.

On the opposite side of things, employees who are not intimidated by change contribute to the company’s goal of becoming globally competitive in the innovations department.

Collaborative mind and spirit

Collaboration is almost always about achieving a common goal that people envision for their organization. Employees who know how to collaborate find favor among employers as it is a sign of the level of maturity of an individual.

Collaborators are willing to set aside personal differences or biases, as well as professional labels to advance the company’s welfare in general.

Effective communicators

Communication remains to be an important driver of success, although it’s not so much as simply being able to express one’s ideas; rather, it’s about using the proper channels available, social media, and other sharing platforms included to disseminate important information and insights with people.

Clearly, employees should strike a good balance between technical competencies and soft skills if they want to make the cut this 2017 and in the years to come.

Karthik SubburamanKarthik Subburaman is currently the Country Manager of ECC International (ECCI) and Apex Global Learning. He has notable experience as a lead consultant and solution architect for clients across industries – in the areas risk management, business process re-engineering, corporate sustainability strategy and organizational learning management. Among other expertise, he has an eye for problem solving, decision analysis, and quality excellence helping a number of companies across industries to improve business processes and learning improvement and sustainability.

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