Poll: 1 In 3 B-School Students Say They Lack Skills For Jobs In ‘Industry 4.0’

In a new global poll, 30% of B-school students say they fear they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment in “Industry 4.0”

Business school students about to enter the job market are concerned about their lack of digital skills when it comes to getting a job in “Industry 4.0,” or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to a new poll by EFMD.

The global management development network of academic, business, and public service members polled more than 1,000 students through its online careers platform Highered and found a high level of concern about job prospects in a time of rapid and complex change.

“Employers such as Microsoft, Audi, and Alibaba have been developing Industry 4.0 practices for years,” says Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at Highered, in a news release, “but it’s clear that business school students feel unprepared for this new reality .”


The term “Industry 4.0” refers to the digitization of manufacturing, specifically how technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence work together “to revolutionize production,” according to Highered, which asked 1,060 B-school students around the world for their views on getting a job in Industry 4.0, whether they felt prepared, and how their university/B-school was supporting them.

Among the findings:

  • 30% fear that they lack the digital skills to prepare for employment
  • Almost 9 in 10 believe that skills such as data analytics and search engine marketing are now considered “entry-level” requirements
  • 71% believe that senior leaders have a poor understanding of digital skills and Industry 4.0

“We know that the skills needed in many roles have a shorter lifespan than ever before,” Wigmore Alvarez says. “If we are going to help them find jobs in the new digital economy, they need career development and training that’s tailored to employer requirements but is also personalized to their level of skills. Partnerships between universities, business schools and employers will be critical.”


Highered’s study was conducted among undergraduates and post-graduates, representing 111 nationalities living in 96 countries. More than half of the respondents — 50.5% — were female, and 48.3% were male.

Asked to rank skills they lacked most in preparing for Industry 4.0, 30% put “knowledge of digital skills” at number one; 15% cited “data analysis and interpretation” as number one; and 13% said “understanding of new and emerging technology” is number one. The respondents were less worried about a lack of skills in such areas as marketing and HR.

Job seekers believe that they need more than their university studies to land their role, Highered says: 86% stated that their university degree alone would not be enough to get them a job in their preferred industry. When asked how universities/B-schools could improve to help them get a job, 65% said: “integration of employment skills into degree programmes.” This was followed by “opportunities for internships” at 57% and “availability of consulting projects” at 55%.

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